SCHUMER: NEWBURGH & POUGHKEEPSIE SHOOTINGS ROSE BY 72% LAST YEAR ALONE, THE HIGHEST JUMP IN YEARS; STANDING WITH ADVOCATES & OFFICIALS FROM ORANGE AND DUTCHESS COUNTIES, SCHUMER LAUNCHES MAJOR PUSH TO QUADRUPLE FUNDING FOR NEW COMMUNITY-BASED VIOLENCE INTERVENTION GRANT PROGRAM TO COMBAT HUDSON VALLEY SURGE IN GUN VIOLENCE
Community-Based Violence Intervention (CVI) Programs Are Designed To Stop The Violence From Ever Occurring In The First Place By Supporting Those At Greatest Risk Of Gun Violence
Schumer: Epidemic of Gun Violence In The Hudson Valley Must Be Confronted Head-On With Federal Investment In CVI Programs
Standing at the Newburgh Armory Unity Center with officials, law enforcement, community violence prevention experts, and advocates from Poughkeepsie and Newburgh, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today launched his latest push to combat crime and the recent surge of gun violence in the Hudson Valley. Schumer revealed that the Department of Justice just yesterday launched the new Community Violence Intervention (CVI) Initiative, a first of its kind grant program, funded through the FY22 Appropriations Bill, aimed at combating gun violence at its root by increasing community trust, identifying those at the highest risk and working to reduce violence through evidence based intervention. Schumer said these programs have already had tremendous success in the Hudson Valley, directly helping reduce violence and save lives, and that he is quadrupling down on his support calling for the administration’s request for $250 million for the program as a down payment to be fully funded to help reduce crime and keep places like Newburgh safe.
“Hudson Valley residents know far too well how gun violence continues to impact our communities here in the Hudson Valley,” said Senator Schumer. “This is a crisis that we can and must solve, and one of the best ways to reduce violence is by increasing the resources available to local organizers, getting youth in underserved communities off the streets, and providing individuals the support necessary to get on the right track. Community-based Violence Intervention programs have been extremely effective in the Hudson Valley, and that’s why I’m fighting to bolster this funding so these lifesaving programs can be strengthened and expanded like never before.”
“RECAP would like to thank Senator Schumer for visiting Orange County today and his ongoing commitment to creating healthier and safer communities. Addressing the social determinants of health is the key factor in reducing gun and other violence. We look forward to continue discussions on how to best use the resources available to us to create safer, healthier communities,” said Michele McKeon, Chief Operating Officer of Regional Economic Community Action Program.
Schumer explained that CVI programs use evidence-informed strategies to reduce violence through tailored, community-centered initiatives. These programs engage individuals and groups to prevent and disrupt cycles of violence and retaliation and establish relationships between individuals and community assets to deliver services that save lives, address trauma, provide opportunity, and improve the physical, social, and economic conditions that drive violence. The DOJ’s Community Based Violence Intervention and Prevention Initiative grant program began for the first time this year funded at $50 million, and was just posted yesterday for community groups and local governments to begin to apply. However, Schumer said that while this is strong first step, that the recent wave of gun violence felt across the Hudson Valley warrants even more to bolster these programs, which is why he is quadrupling down and calling for the program to receive at least $250 million going forward.
Schumer said the SNUG (“Should Never Use Guns”) program, which returned to Newburgh in September 2020, uses conflict mediation and crisis intervention to prevent gun violence in the city’s downtown area is a prime example of how CVI programs work. Newburgh’s SNUG program employs individuals with a prior criminal history of either gun or gang violence to act as credible messengers in reaching out to city residents and youth to encourage a lifestyle that does not include gun violence or gang participation. To date, the Newburgh SNUG program has achieved 54 successful mediations— without the tireless work of the SNUG team there could be 54 more incidents of gun violence. As of April 19th, according to SNUG, there had been no incidents of gun violence for 100 days in the downtown area of Newburgh.
Schumer said that a lack of resources in a community can increase the risk for violence to occur, so strategies that bolster community resources and improve community conditions must be used to support CVI strategies. This is why the senator made sure that the American Rescue Plan had $21 million for the City of Newburgh and $20 million for the City of Poughkeepsie in local aid. The senator made sure that this funding could be used to invest in evidence-based community violence interventions. The Department of Education has also clarified that ARPA's $122 billion in K-12 funds could be used for CVI strategies.
This effort to further fund CVI programs comes on the heels of Senator Schumer’s successful push for the federal government’s regulation of “ghost guns and the Senator’s commitment to getting these dangerous, often untraceable, firearms off the streets. Just last week, The Department of Justice announced their submission of the “Frame or Receiver” Final Rule to The Federal Register, expanding the firearm definition by subjecting parts’ kits to the same regulations as fully assembled guns. Earlier this year, Senator Schumer fought to secure $1.5 billion dollars in funding to The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. This increase will be critical to tackling gun trafficking and The Iron Pipeline—issues that prominently affect the state of New York.
Schumer was joined by Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison; Newburgh Mayor Torrance Harvey; NYS Assemblyman Jonthan Jacobson ; K Bain, Founder of Community Capacity Development; Kevin White, Newburgh Boys and Girls Club; Jose Gomerez, City of Newburgh Police Commissioner; Michele McKeon, Chief Operating Officer at Regional Economic Community Action Program; Orenzo Charles, Program organizer; Ray Thomas, NAACP Newburgh; Jemika Hall, Founder of Marc Friends; Bishop Woody, Pastor of The Cathedral at The House in Newburgh; Whitney Humphrey, Poughkeepsie SNUG Vice President for Community Programs; and Ykim Anderson, SNUG outreach worker