One life lost to senseless violence is one too many and the rising violence is tearing our communities apart. The uptick in gun violence that we’ve seen across the nation, and right here in Philadelphia, is heartbreaking and we must keep working together to stop it, save lives and create a safer city for us all.
On June 18, City Council passed the Fiscal Year 22 Operating and Capital Budgets. Among the items discussed by Council and our Administration for several weeks was how to invest in violence prevention initiatives that both address the immediate crisis and tackle the systemic, root causes of violence.
As a result of ongoing input from City Council, the City will dedicate more than $150 million this coming fiscal year to reduce violence through an array of strategies focused on:
- Community empowerment.
- Employment and careers.
- Safe havens for children and youth.
Between existing, new, and expanded programs we originally proposed back in April, as well as additional resources added, $155.7 million will be invested to reduce and prevent violence.
It’s important to note that this doesn’t include our significant educational and anti-poverty investments nor our traditional economic development activities. With those efforts added in, our commitment to anti-violence easily totals hundreds of millions each year.
Within the $155.7 million investment; is:
- $20 million for a new Community Grants initiative with Philadelphia City Council.
- $1.5 million for two Youth Evening Reporting Centers.
- $5.6 million for the Commerce Department.
For a total of $27.1 million, which both our administration and City Council agreed to.
The $155.7 million also includes the administration’s originally proposed $18 million in new anti-violence investments as well as more funds for the Office of Workforce Development, Parks and Rec, and the Free Library, compared to what we were able to do in Fiscal Year 21.
We’ve also broadened our definition of what constitutes violence prevention to better reflect the array of services that play a part in our violence prevention strategy. For example, we know that programs at our libraries and rec centers that give young people positive outlets to engage in do have an impact on their lives.
In addition, $30 million will fund:
- $13.3 million for 911 Triage/Co-Responders & Mobile Crisis Units.
- $10.1 million for restorations to Parks & Recreation and the Free Library budgets.
- $3.5 million for a transitional jobs program and the Office of Workforce Development.
- $1.3 million for Roadmap Community Response.
- $1.3 million for Group Violence Intervention and Community Crisis Intervention Program expansions.
- $500,000 more for our existing Targeted Community Investment Grants program.
- $130,000 for L&I Demolitions in Operation Pinpoint areas.
- $125,000 for the Office of Violence Prevention.
There’s also $11 million in rollover funds for programs that did not start in FY21 that will be available in FY22. This brings our new FY22 anti-violence spending total to $68 million.
We have to continue to work together with our criminal justice partners and community-based organizations to solve this challenge. With this significant investment and the new partnership recently announced by President Biden that Philadelphia is taking part in, I’m confident that our city is on track to addressing this public health epidemic.