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Berks County Projects Awarded $4.3 Million in Violence Intervention and Prevention Grants

Berks County Projects Awarded $4.3 Million in Violence Intervention and Prevention Grants

Governor Tom Wolf announced Wednesday that the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) awarded $100 million in grants to reduce gun and group violence across Pennsylvania. Together, the grants will support 127 projects implementing local and regional strategies to reduce violence in Pennsylvania.

“Reducing gun violence and making our communities safer has always been my top priority,” said Gov. Wolf. “Every Pennsylvanian deserves to be safe in their home and their community. These grants will help give our communities – and the on-the-ground organizations making a difference across Pennsylvania every day – the tools they need to be even more effective when it comes to reducing violence.”

PCCD awarded $88.6 million in Violence Intervention and Prevention (VIP) grants to 122 projects throughout the state, including over $4.3 million in Violence Intervention Program grant funding to various Berks County efforts.

The awards in Berks County are as follows:

State Senator Judy Schwank applauded the Berks County recipients of the VIP grant funding for navigating a competitive grant funding process.

“We continue to see groups in Berks County put together strong applications for grant funding and that reality is being recognized and rewarded at the state level,” Schwank said. “The projects that are being supported will go a long way towards creating safer communities across Berks County.”

State Rep. Manuel Guzman said, “These grants bring me satisfaction as a lawmaker, but also on a personal level because I have been aggressively championing legislation aimed to lessen violence in our community. I praise these major investments in public safety and celebrate Governor Tom Wolf’s continued efforts. I am confident that now, with a Democratic majority in the House, we will be able to see real action and real changes in our city.”

Chris Winters, President and CEO of Olivet Boys & Girls Club of Reading & Berks County, expressed the organizations excitement about the news.

“Olivet Boys & Girls Club is incredibly excited for this grant from PCCD to implement the ‘Safe Haven Project’ to expand and enhance our current abilities to positively impact youth and families of Reading and Berks County. Through this project, Olivet will build the capacity of our team to better support club members and promote a club experience and culture focused on the mental wellness and the safety and security of the youth that call Olivet their “Safe Haven”. We extend our thanks to our dedicated community partners and our elected officials for their unwavering support of this project and the Olivet organization as a whole.”

VIP grants support a wide range of program types and models focused on reducing community violence, including street outreach and violence interruption programs utilizing credible messengers; Safe Corridors/Safe Passages programs, which prevent incidents to/from school and other community centers; providing referrals to partner agencies focused on meeting basic needs of participants, including education, employment, health, and other services; comprehensive pre-release and reentry programs for returning citizens; trauma-informed approaches to support victims and survivors of gun violence; and youth activities and mentorship, among other approaches.

More information about the specific VIP projects awarded, as well as PCCD’s efforts to address gun violence generally, can be found under the Gun Violence tab on the website.