Mayor Scott Announces Vision for Community Violence Intervention Ecosystem in Baltimore
Wednesday Apr 13th, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Scott will invest over $10 million in ARPA dollars to establish CVI ecosystem and address violence across the city.
BALTIMORE, MD (Wednesday, April 13, 2022) — Today, Mayor Brandon M. Scott stood as a national leader in the Community Violence Intervention (CVI) space to lay out his strategy to expand Baltimore’s CVI ecosystem. Mayor Scott was joined by the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement (MONSE), White House Community Violence Intervention Collaborative (CVIC) technical advisors, the National Coalition for Criminal Justice Reform, The Health Alliance for Violence Intervention (HAVI), Safe Streets Baltimore, community-based organization partners, Baltimore-area hospital system partners, and community partners.
Baltimore’s Comprehensive Violence Prevention Plan (CVPP) outlines the Mayor’s commitment to invest in evidence-based violence intervention programming rooted in community and a public health approach. Scott has already committed to accelerating the implementation of the CVPP through a $50 million American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) investment into comprehensive public safety efforts announced last fall.
“We know that in order to reduce violence, Baltimore’s capacity to transform conflict positively and reduce violence must drastically expand,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “Community Violence Intervention is a nationally-acclaimed and implemented strategy that is proven to save lives and produce sustainable outcomes for communities experiencing devastating levels of violence. Establishing this ecosystem is a critical part of my Comprehensive Violence Prevention Plan’s approach to breaking the vicious cycle of violence by addressing it as a law enforcement issue and a public health epidemic.”
Between FY22 - FY25, Baltimore will invest $10,025,000 from ARPA to issue a minimum of 30 contracts with partner organizations at the institutional and grassroots levels in outreach and conflict mediation, violence intervention, hospital-based violence intervention, school-based violence intervention, intensive case management and life coaching, and victim services.
“Making our communities safer will take meaningful investment and a coordinated approach to response and intervention efforts. That’s why I’m glad to see Mayor Scott leveraging federal American Rescue Plan funds in his comprehensive vision to improve public safety in Baltimore," said U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen. “The Community Violence Intervention Ecosystem plan both increases support for victims while offering pathways to homegrown economic opportunity that gives people hope for their futures. This initiative is an important part of an overall strategy to strengthen public safety and make Baltimore an even better place to live and work, and I’ll keep fighting for more federal resources to support these efforts.”
Today, Scott detailed his approach to developing, coordinating, and fostering a Community Violence Intervention ecosystem in Baltimore that includes violence intervention programming and victim services, intensive life coaching, hospital-based response, and other wraparound supports.
Scott’s vision for an expanded CVI ecosystem includes:
- Refining and building on Baltimore’s existing conflict mediation and violence intervention programming. MONSE has conducted an in-depth review of Baltimore’s ten current Safe Streets sites and will make adjustments that prioritize outreach worker safety, training and development, and program efficacy. Additionally, the City will establish contracts with trusted grassroots organizations engaged in violence intervention, like We Our Us, and stand up school-based violence intervention programs where needed.
- Stronger partnerships and coordination with Baltimore-area hospital partners. Making a connection and providing immediate support to gunshot victims in the hospital is essential to preventing retaliation and re-victimization. In February, Mayor Scott and MONSE convened Chief Medical Officers from all area hospitals to discuss the vision for hospital-based responder programs as part of Baltimore’s CVI landscape.
- Expanded intensive life coaching services. While Baltimore has a pre-existing contract with Roca, serving young people between the ages of 16 and 24, no organizations provide these services to men age 25 and above — the age group disproportionately at the center of violence. As a result, the City has partnered with Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. (YAP) to provide intensive life coaching services to this demographic as part of the Group Violence Reduction Strategy (GVRS).
- For the first time, a focus on victim services. Baltimore will cultivate a CVI ecosystem that focuses on victim services, with specific attention paid to survivors of gun violence and trauma that can lead to re-victimization. This includes but is not limited to protection, emergency relocation assistance, housing, mental health, and employment services.
- Organizations that will partner with the city on coordinated neighborhood stabilization response before or after traumatic events occur in a neighborhood, such as major law-enforcement takedowns which leave power vacuums in communities and police-involved shootings.
In addition, Scott released Establishing the Ecosystem: A Vision for Community Violence Intervention in Baltimore, an in-depth report outlining the ways his administration will invest in trauma-informed, community-centered, and evidence-based public health interventions to stem the tide of violence — through the establishment of a comprehensive and multi-faceted Community Violence Intervention (CVI) ecosystem.
Before the Scott Administration, Baltimore’s CVI landscape included ten Safe Streets sites, some partnerships with hospitals for hospital-based violence intervention programs, and one contract with Roca, which provides life coaching and other support to older teens and young adults.
Baltimore’s CVI ecosystem will include familiar programs, like Safe Streets and Roca, and grow to include additional partnerships with hospitals, public schools, victim services providers, life coaches, and case managers - each working together, covering more ground across the city, and playing a uniquely important role in the overall strategy to prevent and reduce violence. This approach is supported by the White House as a best practice to reduce violent crime in partnership with local communities.
Baltimore City is home to ten Safe Streets sites, each with its own staff and physical location based in the community, across eight administrators. Each Safe Streets site is intentionally located in a BPD post in the top percentile of gun violence across the city.
Currently, these ten sites cover only approximately 2.6 square miles of a 90 square mile city. MONSE will use ARPA funding to contract with community based organizations and service providers to build capacity and amplify the effectiveness of community violence intervention strategy components including, but not limited to, the provision of direct services and wraparound supports. Organizations can learn more about funding opportunities and submit a letter of interest at the Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement's Funding Portal.
For over two decades, Safe Streets violence interrupters have been trusted messengers in the community and have stood on the frontlines, putting themselves in between a person pointing a gun and the person the gun is being pointed at to to interrupt the transmission of violence,” said Shantay Jackson, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement. “The Scott administration is committed to cultivating a CVI network that is intentional about establishing support for those experiencing violence, and for those working on the ground to prevent it from occurring.”
MONSE conducted an in-depth review of Baltimore’s ten current Safe Streets at Mayor Scott’s direction. This evaluation focused on operational and cultural norms across the sites and was completed in the second half of 2021. As outlined in the 33-page report, MONSE will prioritize workforce safety, oversight and accountability of the program, training and development, workforce morale, career pathways for violence interrupters, and overall program efficacy.
An updated academic evaluation of Safe Streets is currently underway. One part of the study will analyze and evaluate Safe Streets Baltimore’s impact on gun violence. Another aspect of the study will include an investigation of Safe Streets sites in the Western District to generate a deeper qualitative understanding of how the sites engage with program participants, staff, local community-based and government organizations, and community members. The findings of these evaluations will be public and are expected to be shared in the first half of 2023.
Members of the public can read the report in full here.