Three Baltimore community organizations have received nearly $5.5 million in federal grants for their violence intervention efforts.
On Thursday, the Justice Programs Office of the Department of Justice announced grants totaling $100 million to help communities across the United States reduce gun crime and other serious violence. Ministry officials made the announcement during a visit to Baltimore.
Amy L. Solomon, the office’s senior assistant deputy attorney general, announced the local awards during a roundtable hosted by Roca Baltimore, one of the recipients. The Black Mental Health Alliance for Education and Consultation and the Living Classrooms Foundation of Baltimore were also recognized.
“These are really tough times in Baltimore and across the country,” Solomon told attendees. She said violence must be looked at not only from a law enforcement perspective, but also from a holistic perspective.
The funding comes from OJP’s Community Violence Prevention and Intervention Initiative, which will award $1,998,807 to Roca Baltimore; $1,497,989 to the Black Mental Health Alliance for Education & Consultation; and $1,950,000 to the Living Classrooms Foundation.
“We know the level of trauma is high and the level of violence in our community is often debilitating even to think about it – but we are making an impact and we are committed to staying in the work here, expanding our efforts and not never abandon. on these young people,” said Kurtis Palermo, executive vice president of Roca Maryland.
Roca, which launched in the city in 2018 and also has locations in Massachusetts and Connecticut, is a nonprofit that hopes to grow the number of young men it works with in Baltimore from 200 a year to 250 per year thanks to the federal subsidy.
Roca will use funds to expand its post-shooting protocol to track, reach, and engage with all non-fatal shooting victims in Baltimore City. Young non-fatal gunshot victims considered likely to retaliate or be shot again are visited by Roca within 48 hours to attempt to connect them with services.
He also wants to expand the reach of his work to serve approximately 60-80 young men a year who drive violence in communities outside of Baltimore City.
Cheryl Riviere, program director for the Living Classrooms Foundation, told attendees that the funding will help broaden the reach and create a pipeline to success for the city’s at-risk youth.
Living Classrooms is a non-profit organization that runs Safe Streets, an anti-violence program, which employs and trains so-called “violence interrupters,” often people with street knowledge and criminal backgrounds, to mediate disputes before they don’t get violent. The program has sites in the McElderry Park and Belair-Edison neighborhoods.
Baltimore is working to expand and centralize its grassroots anti-violence programs — moves officials say will curb future bloodshed as the city remains on course to record more than 300 homicides for the eighth consecutive year.
“For nearly 40 years, we have been the trusted source for clinically and culturally relevant forms and lectures and clinicians who can truly speak to the hearts of black and brown people, whether young or old,” said Andrea Brown, executive. director of the Black Mental Health Alliance.
Last minute alerts
As it happens
Get the latest news as it happens and find out about other must-see content with our free news alerts.
The Black Mental Health Alliance provides mental health services and promotes holistic and culturally appropriate behavioral health resources.