$550,000 awarded to Roanoke organizations to fight gun violence | Crime News

Three Roanoke organizations have received combined grants of $550,000 from the U.S. Department of Justice to address the impacts of gun violence in the city.

Carilion Clinic, Family Service of Roanoke Valley and Total Action for Progress have each received federal grants, the city announced Thursday.

Mayor Sherman Lea said the funding is coming to Roanoke “to address the impacts of gun violence on communities most at risk.”

“It’s so important. Funding will go to boots on the ground,” Lea said at a press conference. “This funding is so meaningful to our community as we continue to address gun violence and the many issues that arise from it.”

Roanoke was one of 10 Virginia locations with the largest increases in gun violence over the past year, according to the Department of Justice, according to a city press release, “stressing the need for collaborative, creative and long-term solutions”.

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The Roanoke Police Department reported a 21% increase in gun crimes from 2020 to 2021. Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, the area’s only Level 1 trauma center, saw a 48% increase % of gun-related injuries at the same time, the press release said.

Since January 1, 12 people have died after being shot in the city. William A. Dungee Jr., 26, died after a shooting in February. His father, William “Munch” Dungee, said Thursday the loss of his son was one of the hardest things he has ever had to deal with.

“No parent should ever have to bury their child,” Dungee said. “And even though I couldn’t save my child, I try to build a village so that other parents don’t have to go through pain and pain.”

The father, who now serves as a mentor for the city’s youth through the Rapid Engagement of Support in the Event of Trauma (RESET) program, said ‘nothing is ever enough’ when it comes to fund gun violence prevention efforts,” but we have to start somewhere.

“With the grant money, it’s a start,” Dungee said. “You need a village, so everyone has to do their part. Not just give money. I’m talking about people on the ground, parents, schools, hair salons, churches. Everyone must come together and do their part. »

The three grants announced Thursday will each cover a period of two years. Federal funding has been allocated through state initiatives.

Carilion ClinicThe $200,000 grant comes from the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services’ Victim Services Grant Program as a Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Programs Grant. This money will be used to support its Violent Injury Support and Recovery Program.

“We’ve seen our fair share of gunshot wounds,” Carilion trauma services director Dan Freeman said Thursday. “I am confident that this grant and the funds made available will further help us as a community to address the disparity that drives gun violence.

The proposed support program is designed to “help survivors of gun violence beyond the bedside with the help of a new team of response specialists,” the city’s press release said.

Specialists will assess a patient’s needs upon discharge and act as a care coordinator for up to a year later, “connecting survivors to resources in the community that help them achieve long-term recovery and improve their quality of life”.

“It will help the overall well-being of the patient,” Freeman said. “We are excited to extend the care we provide to these patients beyond the physical injuries, beyond our trauma bays and hospital walls. Focusing on overall patient well-being is one of the most important things we can do to improve the health of the communities we serve.

The model of care is similar to Carilion’s Bridge to Treatment program, which helps patients with substance use disorders find treatment and other related services in the community.

Carilion will also receive training and guidance from Virginia Commonwealth University, which has created a similar program.

Roanoke Valley Family Service received $150,000 for counseling from the EnVision center. The grant will fund a counselor stationed five days a week at the EnVision Center in northwest Roanoke, adjacent to Lansdowne Park. Residents can make an appointment as needed or simply drop in for assistance.

“Northwest Roanoke has been significantly impacted by gun violence,” Family Services President and CEO Linda Hentschel said Thursday. “In 2021, 40% of victims of gun violence came from this part of town. Family Service wants to support families, victims, neighbors, friends of those who are still traumatized and anxious about the violence this gun violence has created.

“I hope Family Service can also help reduce the stigma often associated with mental health,” Hentschel continued. “People need help when the crises and chaos of life become more than they can handle on their own. Family Service wants to be there to help be that support.

FAUCETThe grant is $200,000. It goes through the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice as a Gun Violence Community Response Program grant. The money will be used to fund the Gun Violence Emergency Relocation Project.

The project will move low-income families out of hotspots of violence in the city, or out of “unsafe living conditions that would likely expose them to further violence,” the city’s press release said.

The project follows a relocation model that TAP has used for victims of domestic violence that the city says has been successful.

TAP President and CEO Annette Lewis said she hopes the new relocation effort will “help keep children out of harm’s way.”

“It fills a gap in some of our local offerings, not only helping those directly impacted by gun violence, but also secondary victims,” Lewis said Thursday. “This will help give victims a fresh start, proactively addressing multi-generational trauma.”

The project aims to serve between 12 and 24 families over the duration of the two-year grant.

City Councilman Joe Cobb, chairman of the city’s Gun Violence Prevention Commission, said gun violence in Roanoke is “not a problem that can be solved overnight.”

“A multi-faceted issue like gun violence will require long-term thinking,” Cobb said. “These initiatives are great examples of strategic collaboration to meet our community members where they are and address the residual impacts of gun violence.”

The commission has already worked closely with grant recipient organisations.

“The grants will build on these relationships as the City of Roanoke administers the funds, and Carilion, Family Service and TAP continue to work together to develop programs, measure success and provide feedback on changing needs,” says the city’s press release.

Cobb said that through the grants, “the fabric of our community’s response to gun violence is growing stronger.”

“In a few months, when a victim with a gunshot wound comes to Carilion, she and her family could be connected to counseling available at Lansdowne, or safe accommodation available through TAP,” Cobb said at Thursday’s press conference. . “These connections can mean the difference between someone getting caught up in the culture of gun violence or escaping it.”

“I am optimistic about our community because every day I see community members and partners making a difference through the positive, nurturing, opportunity-based relationships we create and nurture together,” Cobb continued. “Through these short and long-term efforts, I am, and we are, confident that we will break this cycle of violence and reduce gun violence in our community.”

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