City of Philadelphia, PHA offer new initiative to combat gun violence

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The City of Philadelphia recently launched a new Violence Prevention Support Services initiative in partnership with the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) in an effort to combat gun violence.

Philadelphia is approaching 200 homicides for the year; and, while the total is fewer than this time in 2021, the number of shooting victims — now at more than 870 — is up slightly.

The city’s latest violence prevention program will offer supportive services to Philadelphians ages 18 to 34 living in PHA supported housing and who are at high risk of becoming involved in or a victim to gun violence.

“As we fight to protect our communities and do everything we can to create a safer Philadelphia, we continue to strive towards stronger collaboration and coordination across all our services— with a strong focus on neighborhoods and areas of the city that are most impacted by violence,” said Mayor Jim Kenney in a statement. “This partnership with PHA is a meaningful step forward that will help enhance our ability to deliver resources, supports, and services to the people most in need.”

The Resident Advisory Board will collaborate with local nonprofits focused on violence prevention, Every Murder Is Real and Father’s Day Rally Committee. The initiative will be conducted in two phases. Phase One involves outreach to more than 300 individuals at risk of involvement with gun violence, with the goal of enrolling 150. During Phase One, enrolled participants attend facilitated sessions for 10 weeks to receive financial, professional, and mental health support, with financial incentives of up to $1,000 for participants hitting key milestones. Phase Two will provide ongoing mental health support and focuses on career selection, skill building, and connection to job training and other employment services.

The Anti-Violence Support Services will increase access to resources for individuals most at risk of committing gun violence by expanding on-site services for residents living within or near PHA supported housing. The initiative will launch at the following PHA sites: Bartram Village (5404 Gibson Drive, 19143); Strawberry Mansion Apartments & Gordon Apartments (33rd  & Berks Streets, 19121); Wilson Park (2500 Jackson Street, 19145); Raymond Rosen (2301 West Edgley Street, 19121); and Richard Allen (110 Poplar Street, 19123).

“The Resident Advisory Board represents PHA residents from across all parts of the city and they have a deep understanding of the needs of the communities we serve,” said PHA’s President and CEO Kelvin A. Jeremiah. “They are well positioned to lead this effort.”

The Violence Prevention Support Services Initiative is funded jointly by the City of Philadelphia and the PHA and will continue throughout the fall.

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