Readout of Office of Justice Programs Leadership Visit to Lowell, Massachusetts, to Announce Community Violence Intervention Grants
Assistant Attorney General Amy L. Solomon this week joined OJP officials and community leaders in Lowell, Massachusetts, to announce more than $90 million in funding to support community violence intervention programs across the country. Assistant Attorney General Solomon made the announcement during a visit to UTEC, a nonprofit organization that works to reduce violence and recidivism among youth and young adults.
Solomon was joined at the event by National Institute of Justice Director Nancy La Vigne, CVI Senior Advisor Eddie Bocanegra, Bureau of Justice Assistance Deputy Director Michelle Garcia and Office for Victims of Crime Deputy Director Sharron Fletcher.
UTEC provides support services for young adults in Haverhill, Lawrence and Lowell, Massachusetts, three cities north of Boston. Through workforce development, educational programs, mental health services, street outreach and correctional culture initiatives, UTEC helps young adults avoid violence and find success. OJP officials toured UTEC facilities and participated in roundtable discussions with local CVI leaders.
“What we hear in each of these cities – and what we heard this morning from the team at UTEC – are stories about exposure to violence and its deep impact, about pain, struggle and trauma, but also hope, optimism and integrity,” said Assistant Attorney General Solomon. “We heard about street intervention workers with ‘hearts bigger than their bodies,’ who react ‘like firefighters’ to emergency calls and who ‘plant seeds of hope.’ And for so many of our young people, programs like UTEC and Roca become their safe space, their family, their hope, their community. And that gives them the strength and the resolve to build a brighter future for themselves and their families.”
CVI is an approach that uses evidence-informed strategies to reduce violence through tailored community-centered initiatives. These multidisciplinary strategies engage individuals, institutions and community partners to prevent and disrupt cycles of violence and deliver critical services that save lives, address trauma, provide opportunity and improve the physical, social and economic conditions that drive violence. OJP is spearheading the Department of Justice’s work with CVI programs across the country, making unprecedented investments in local programs, training and technical assistance, and – critically – research and evaluation.
“Research and data-driven approaches are key components of effective CVI efforts,” said NIJ Director La Vigne. “They are essential in understanding the nature of the violence problem, identifying the right locations and people in need of services, supports and enhanced accountability mechanisms, measuring CVI activities and whether they are being delivered as planned, and assessing outcomes.”
Over the last two years, OJP has awarded nearly $200 million to support more than 75 CVI sites nationwide. UTEC is the recipient of a $900,000 award to strengthen and expand its street outreach and reentry services to prevent community violence among young adults. The program is among five Boston-area projects being funded through OJP’s Community Violence Intervention and Prevention Initiative this year.
Awards are also being made to Roca and the Boston Public Health Commission to institute CVI strategies, and Health Resources in Action is receiving a grant that will allow it to deliver sub-awards and intensive training and technical assistance to community-based organizations. Suffolk University and American Institutes for Research are receiving funding to conduct evaluations of Boston-area CVI programs.
Separate funding from OJP’s Office for Victims of Crime will enable Health Alliance for Violence Intervention in Boston to provide training and technical assistance to hospital-based violence intervention programs.
“Today we see representatives from police and sheriffs’ departments, from corrections and probation agencies, from youth services and the nonprofit sector, all here together to celebrate these investments and the importance of partnerships in addressing community violence,” said Senior Advisor Bocanegra.
OJP’s investments represent an unprecedented federal commitment to CVI strategies, reaching communities in 29 states and territories nationwide.
“These new investments will allow us to almost double the cohort of grantees, build on the national momentum and help establish CVI as a lasting pillar of this country’s public safety infrastructure,” said Assistant Attorney General Solomon.
The grants are jointly administered by OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and Office for Victims of Crime. OJP’s National Institute of Justice supports evaluations of projects funded under this initiative, contributing to the growing body of evidence regarding the effectiveness of violence intervention strategies.
About the Office of Justice Programs
The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance, and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime; advance equity and fairness in the administration of justice; assist victims; and uphold the rule of law. More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov.