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Published on Friday, January 11, 2013

AWC seeks cities to sign a joint letter for gang prevention dollars in our communities

AWC is looking for cities and non-profit groups that provide intervention and prevention programs to sign a joint letter to key legislators, calling for a renewal of a budgetary provision to fund gang prevention and intervention grants.

Last year, the Washington State Legislature recognized that street gang activities are a serious problem affecting public safety and economic interest in our state by allocating $250,000 for gang prevention grants. These grants were administered by the Washington State Partnership Council on Juvenile Justice (WA-PCJJ). Thirteen proposals were submitted and two were awarded grants. The Tacoma Gang Project, under the Human Rights & Human Services division of the City of Tacoma, is using the funding to reduce and prevent gang violence through a combination of prevention, intervention, and suppression system changes. The Yakima County Gang Resistance Intervention Project, under the Yakima County Juvenile Court, is establishing a county-wide network of youth services designed to significantly reduce the number of youth joining criminal street gangs and provide the necessary support structure to facilitate interventions for gang-involved youth.

These and other organizations are very interested in continued funding and hope to be able to apply again this year. Many of these organizations have applied for other federal funding, but due to significant cuts in funding, fewer of these grants are being awarded.

The joint letter will be sent to key legislators in both houses to show the interest and support such a provision would have, in addition to outlining the great need for prevention and intervention services. If you are interested in signing onto this letter, please contact Brittany Sill at AWC, brittanys@awcnet.org or 360-753-4137.

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