$23 million in funding for 25 projects has been earmarked to create local strategies to stop gun and group violence across Pennsylvania. The grants are part of the Violence Intervention and Prevention (VIP) Grant Program administered by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD).
“With every life lost due to gun violence, we lose a contributing piece of our future. These irreplaceable losses are tearing our communities apart,” said Gov. Wolf. “Addressing gun violence at the root, at the community and neighborhood level, is critical. These organizations funded today are changing, and saving, lives.”
According to the CDC, gun deaths hit an all-time high in 2020 with more than 45,000 Americans killed by firearms. With communities across Pennsylvania also seeing an increase in shootings and gun violence, Gov. Wolf is committed to addressing this crisis. Based on a recommendation by the Special Council on Gun Violence, created by an executive order in 2019, Gov. Wolf has prioritized investing in community-led gun violence prevention efforts through the VIP program.
In December, Gov. Wolf funded $15.7 million for 40 projects. Funding for this second round of grant awards was increased last week, with an additional $15 million in American Rescue Plan dollars being committed to the program.
VIP grants provide funding to local organizations for a wide range of programs focused on reducing community violence, including street outreach and violence interruption programs utilizing credible messengers; Safe Corridors/Safe Passages programs, which prevent incidents to/from school and other community centers; providing referrals to partner agencies focused on meeting basic needs of participants, including education, employment, health and other services; comprehensive pre-release and reentry programs for returning citizens; trauma-informed approaches to support victims and survivors of gun violence; as well as youth activities and mentorship.