Governor Tom Wolf recently joined state lawmakers to remind communities and organizations that $24 million in state funding is available to address community violence.
“We cannot overstate how painful and damaging gun violence is to our communities. The fear, stress and grief gun violence leaves in its wake hurts every member of our communities,” Wolf said. “This funding will provide communities and organizations with resources to implement or support programs that are tackling community violence. I’m grateful to those who are taking steps every day to keep their communities safe and I urge them to apply for this opportunity.”
As administered by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD), the Violence Intervention and Prevention (VIP) funding is intended to support effective local intervening and preventative measures to stop gun and group violence in regions that are experiencing high rates of violent crime. “Stemming the violence in our neighborhoods requires coordination and determination at every level, but most importantly in our neighborhoods. By focusing at ground level, funding will be able to hit the streets quickly and reach people one by one,” said state Senator Vincent Hughes (D- 7th Dist.). “Our caucus has helped make these resources available and I encourage community organizations and on-the-ground leaders to apply for these funds.”
Community-based organizations, institutions of higher education, municipalities, district attorneys and counties are eligible to apply. Awards will range from maximum budgets of $50,000 to $2,000,000 for project periods spanning up to two years (24 months). Awards are tiered to reflect the applicant’s size and service area. More detailed information about the application process can be found in the Violence Prevention and Intervention (VIP) Funding Announcement on PCCD’s website at https://www.pccd.pa.gov. The deadline to apply is October 15.
“Gun violence has been labeled a public health crisis, some would say a public health emergency, and as such we need to coordinate resources and treat it as such,” said state Representative Donna Bullock (D-195th Dist.). “Last week there was an after school shooting just mere steps from my 10-year-old son’s school, and an early morning shooting in the school yard of the elementary school near my home. As a member of the Governor’s School Safety and Security Committee, I am committed to getting state resources out to those on the frontlines of this public health crisis quickly and efficiently.”
Addressing the scourge of gun violence is a top priority for Governor Wolf. In 2019, he signed an Executive Order creating the Office of Gun Violence Prevention and a Special Council on Gun Violence within the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, as well as the Division of Violence Prevention within the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
As a result of recommendations of the council, PCCD had prioritized available funding to support direct, multi-year grants to organizations implementing gun violence prevention/intervention models. In June, the governor signed the 2021-22 state budget, which included an additional $30 million for VIP grants.