This week, The Guardian featured the stories of two survivors of gun violence from the Bay area, who are now using their experiences to prevent further gun violence in their community after receiving support from Youth Alive’s Caught in the Crossfire program. The work of violence interrupters with the Office of Neighborhood Safety in Richmond was also highlighted, as they confront the deadly challenge of preventing gun violence amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As states grapple with the financial impact of COVID-19, it’s imperative for California to protect and sustain funding for gun violence prevention programs across the state.
Local gun violence prevention programs, like Youth Alive and the Office of Neighborhood Safety, intervene in the cycle of violence using a variety of support services – including youth programming, violence interruption, and hospital-based intervention programs. The groups are just some of the many California Violence Intervention and Prevention (CalVIP) grantees, a state-supported program that’s funding could be in jeopardy as the state fights the pandemic.
As cities and states consider budget cuts to fight the pandemic, it’s essential CalVIP grantees and local gun violence intervention groups continue to receive previously allocated funding from the state of California. Moreover, many community-based prevention and intervention programs have now adapted their strategies to inform community members about the risks of COVID-19. These groups would also benefit from relaxed funding restrictions to allow them to adapt to changing community needs, and procure protective equipment to keep employees safe as they continue their work.
The California legislature is set to return to session in May, and it will have an opportunity to restore funding and resources to CalVIP and their grantees. While California made tremendous progress last year by supporting these programs with budget funding, it’s more important than ever to ensure that CalVIP funding is protected and sustained.
If you have any questions, or would like to speak with a volunteer with the California chapter of Moms Demand Action, please don’t hesitate to reach out.