Heal The Violence: Engaging Young People To Prevent Conflicts In Their Communities

Published on November 02, 2021, 8:31 pm
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Mayor de Blasio and the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) today announced the launch of the Heal-the-Violence program. Funded through a larger $2 million grant provided by the City, this pilot program will support a localized anti-violence curriculum, training young people to develop solutions for curbing violence, using techniques like Healing Circles, Asset Mapping, Conflict Mediation, and other prevention-based responses.

“A recovery for all of us is rooted in public safety, and one central way to keep our city safe is by uplifting our young people,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “NYCHA’s innovative Heal-the-Violence program will reach young people where they are and create a safer future for our neighborhoods.”

“NYCHA is committed to taking a holistic approach towards public safety that’s predicated on providing our young people with expanded programming, public space improvements, and robust engagement, said NYCHA Chair & CEO Greg Russ. “We are grateful to the Mayor’s Office for joining with us to develop new approaches for addressing this vital issue.”

“Young people living in underserved and under-resourced public housing communities are especially impacted by traumatic violence, and this program is designed to center their voices in finding meaningful solutions for creating safer neighborhoods,” said NYCHA EVP for Community Engagement and Partnerships Sideya Sherman and Executive Director for the Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity. “Heal-the-Violence is one of several long-term strategies that will support community health, security, and opportunity at NYCHA campuses.”

“Public safety begins and ends with communities. These interventions work because they strengthen our neighborhoods. We look forward to working with our partners in the community and in government to continue our City’s recovery,” said Marcos Soler, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice.

“For the NYPD, crime fighting and community service are intrinsically linked in all we do and we applaud this program as enhancing all of our strategies to engage with and support New York City kids,” said Chief of Housing David Barrere. “The men and women of the NYPD’s Housing Bureau are unwavering in their commitment to public safety – which is a collective mission we pursue every day with our New York City Housing Authority partners.”

Heal-the-Violence will target young people ages 14-24. Those selected to participate in the program must live at one of the participating NYCHA campuses across the five boroughs and are eligible to receive up to $150 for their participation, with designated youth leaders eligible for $300. The program follows the large-scale renovation of more than a dozen basketball courts at NYCHA campuses earlier this year, and the roll-out of a youth basketball league organized in partnership with the New York Knicks and NYPD that concluded this past month.

Selected vendors will host onsite activities such as workshops and classes 1-2 times per week. NYCHA sought applications from Anti-Violence providers including those in the New York City Crisis Management System: a network that deploys teams of credible messengers who mediate conflicts on the street and connect high-risk individuals to services that can reduce the long-term risk of violence. According to the New York City Office to Prevent Gun Violence, the Crisis Management System helped contribute to a 40 percent reduction in shootings across program areas – compared to a 31 percent reduction in comparison sites – from 2010 to 2019.


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