Roanoke City receives $525K in grants to help reduce gun violence

Roanoke Valley News
(Photo: Courtesy MGN Image)

(Photo: Courtesy MGN Image)

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — On Thursday afternoon, Roanoke city officials announced the Star City was awarded two grants totaling more than half a million dollars from the Department of Criminal Justice Services to combat gun violence.

The first grant provides $25,000 in funding to complete a Youth and Gang Violence Community Assessment, which the City of Roanoke expects to start soon and wrap up by the end of the year. This assessment will allow city officials to develop a plan of action for the identification, prevention, and intervention of youth and gang violence in Roanoke.  

The second is a $500,000 grant for a Gun Violence Intervention Program, which will be used from June 1, 2021 through June 20, 2023. Some of these funds will be designated to hire a Youth and Gang Violence Prevention Coordinator, as well as two Outreach Workers who will reach out to youth and young adults with high numbers of risk factors identified by the Community Assessment.

“These are action steps that we’re taking to make a difference in our community with regard to gun violence,” said Mayor Sherman Lea. “We are optimistic that these initiatives are going to have an impact on our community, and we will keep working to that end.”

“These grants will allow the City and the Gun Violence Prevention Commission to take gun violence reduction to the next level, “Council Member Joe Cobb said. “This is an exciting day for the City and a positive step to create new pathways of possibility for the youth in our community.”

This will be a collaborative effort between the Gun Violence Prevention Commission, the Roanoke Police Department, the City Manager’s Office, Roanoke City Public Schools, and other community partners to complement the prevention and intervention efforts currently underway by the Gun Violence Prevention Commission and the Roanoke Police Department. 

“These initiatives fit well within the City’s overall framework for responding to the increase in gun violence that has plagued Roanoke along with much of the Nation,” said City Manager Bob Cowell. “The framework’s focus on prevention, intervention, and justice is critical to addressing the immediacy of acts of violence occurring in our community now and in preventing future acts of violence.”  

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