April 21, 2020

Mayor Lightfoot Announces $7.5 Million Awarded to More Than 10 Community-Based Street Outreach and Victim Services Organizations in Communities at Highest Risk of Violence

Investments to expand violence interruption training, crisis intervention and de-escalation services for street outreach organizations that have historically lacked City funding support

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today announced a total of $7.5 million in investments have been awarded to community-based organizations from across Chicago to expand street outreach and trauma-informed victim services for those who are at the highest risk of violence. As part of today’s awarded investments, Metropolitan Family Services was selected to convene and provide a cohesive cohort of street outreach organizations with violence interruption training, crisis intervention and de-escalation services to further build on Mayor Lightfoot’s data-informed, public health approach to violence reduction.

“By ensuring the street outreach organizations who are on the ground have the resources, training and support they need to keep our residents safe, we can further build on our all-hands-on-deck effort to curb violence in our neighborhoods and protect the city we all call home,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Gun violence is not only a public safety issue, it's a public health crisis. That’s why through this monumental down payment, we are putting tools directly into the hands of our community-based outreach workers who every day utilize de-escalation skills to interrupt violence, prevent retaliation and build positive relationships with those who are at the highest risk of violence.”

Allocated through the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), a total of $6 million was awarded to Metropolitan Family Services to convene, support, and intensively train community-based organizations in the City’s priority community areas, where the funds will be targeted to ensure resources and supports are provided to communities who need it the most. Until now, the City had historically never tracked the funding resources, stability and support needs of each community-based organization to identify gaps in services, areas of improvement or resource demands within each neighborhood and community.

"On behalf of Communities Partnering 4 Peace, we are thankful and excited about the city’s initial investment in street outreach," said Vaughn Bryant, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Peace Initiatives of Metropolitan Family Services. "Our local partners engage and build trusting relationships with individuals and groups most vulnerable to gun violence and mobilize and provide them with a comprehensive set of services that lead to their healing and the healing of our communities."

Over the next several months, Metropolitan Family Services will work with 11 community-based street outreach organizations in the City’s 15 priority communities, all of which experienced the highest levels of violence in the city over the past three years. Working to provide conflict resolution and crisis de-escalation, case management, safe public space and hospital response strategies and supports for those at the center of violence, each of the organizations will be eligible for awards between $150,000 and $400,000 for the priority community they serve. The following organizations were selected to provide street outreach services in these 15 communities:

  • Auburn Gresham – Target Area Development
  • Austin – Institute for Nonviolence Chicago (INVC)
  • Back of the Yards – Precious Blood Ministries
  • Chicago Lawn – Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP)
  • East Garfield Park – Breakthrough Ministries
  • Englewood – Target Area Development
  • Greater Grand Cross – Acclivus
  • Humboldt Park – Alliance of Local Services (ALSO)
  • Little Village – New Life Ministries
  • North Lawndale – UCAN
  • Roseland – UCAN
  • South Shore – Claretian Associates
  • West Englewood –Target Area Development
  • West Garfield Park – Institute for Nonviolence Chicago (INVC)
  • West Pullman – Roseland CeaseFire

 “Street outreach and victim services are at the core of healing our city’s violence epidemic. These victim services funds come at a key time and will allow us to expand our reach to connect with even more families in crisis,” said Matt DeMateo, Executive Director of New Life Centers. “We are grateful for our partnership with the Mayor’s Office, Communities Partnering 4 Peace, Metropolitan Family Services and know that we are stronger together.  We look forward to working together to heal our communities and walk with some of the most vulnerable in our city.”

 In addition to the City’s investments in street outreach services, a total of $1.5 million was also awarded to victim service providers towards programming to expand the capacity of trauma-informed victim support services in the communities that are most impacted by violence.  As part of the awarded funds, six organizations serving nine communities will be eligible for awards of up to $150,000 for each priority area they serve, including:
  • Auburn Gresham – Universal Family Connection
  • Austin – Institute for Nonviolence Chicago (INVC)
  • East Garfield Park – Breakthrough Ministries
  • Englewood – Universal Family Connection
  • Humboldt Park – BUILD
  • Little Village – New Life Ministries
  • North Lawndale – UCAN
  • Roseland – UCAN
  • West Garfield Park – Institute for Nonviolence Chicago (INVC)

 "We are grateful to Mayor Lightfoot for her recognition of and investment in the important on-the-ground work UCAN and our peer organizations are providing as we all respond to the reality of the prevalence and impact of violence and the COVID-19 pandemic," said UCAN President and CEO Zack Schrantz. "These resources will help us live out our commitment to at-risk youth and families in North Lawndale and Roseland.  We know that well-thought-out violence interruption initiatives and victims’ services positively serve the community. When combined with comprehensive case management services, we can help those we serve change the trajectory of their lives."
Historically, Chicago has lacked a comprehensive citywide network of trauma-informed victim services, which is critical in the communities most impacted by gun and intimate partner violence. As part of the City’s efforts to build a network of services, the awarded funds will provide victims of violence and their families with trauma-informed counseling, immediate crisis intervention and ongoing social supports, including access to mental health, housing and food assistance. 
“CDPH is encouraged that Chicago has used a data-driven approach to create a system that is responsive to preventing the escalation of violence in communities that suffer the greatest burden,” said CDPH Commissioner  Dr. Allison Arwady “While at the same time, pairing in those communities trauma-informed resources needed to promote recovery, resilience, and restoration.“
Under Mayor Lightfoot’s leadership, the City has shifted away from a law enforcement-first-and-only strategy, now focusing on enhancing coordination and partnership between the Chicago Police Department (CPD), as well as other key departments, and community-based organizations who provide crisis de-escalation, employment in transitional jobs and cognitive behavioral therapy and supports for those at the center of violence. 
“Over the past several months, the Chicago Police has fostered relationships and built partnerships with violence interrupters, block clubs and street outreach organizations to collaborate and coordinate resources and strategies to drive down crime across communities,” said First Deputy Superintendent Anthony Riccio. “With these investments, we are committed more than ever to building on those common efforts to keep Chicago’s residents safe and protect every neighborhood, community and block.”
In addition to working with street outreach teams to curb gun violence, the Mayor’s Office of Violence Reduction has partnered with a network of community organizations on-the-ground in Chicago’s neighborhoods to ensure they have the resources, supports and latest public health guidance to stay safe and encourage residents to stay home. Additionally, to support efforts by the City’s Racial Equity Rapid Response Team to mitigate the racialized outcomes present in the COVID-19 crisis, street outreach teams have been deployed across neighborhoods to provide public health information, encourage the dispersal of gatherings and deliver food in communities most impacted by violence. 
Today’s awarded funds represent Mayor Lightfoot’s monumental $11.5 million in community-based public safety investments as part of the City’s 2020 budget, a seven-fold increase in funding compared to last year and the largest year-over-year increase in recent history.