City awards first round of anti-violence grants

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INDIANAPOLIS — Nearly a year ago, during his 2022 budget address to the city’s county council, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett announced that the city would spend $15 million of its fund the American Rescue Plan Act of Washington in community grants against violence.

Today, already halfway through the year, the mayor unveiled $4.3 million in marquee elevation grants.

“Adding these 31 additional beneficiaries will, I think, go a long way and ultimately I look for progress every day and I look for progress at the end of every month and we measure that progress by the overall level of gun violence the city experiences against to previous years,” Hogsett said. “We just had a very difficult weekend over the 4th of July, but progress continues to be made in terms of reducing the overall levels of gun violence that Indianapolis has experienced.”

This year, homicides are down 10% and non-fatal shootings down 11% from the same time last year.

At the end of April, the number of non-fatal shooting incidents in Indianapolis was down nearly 20% from 2021, an indication that the decline from a year ago has collapsed during the summer months. .

“We will see a reduction, a significant reduction in gun violence and more peace in neighborhoods in our community, when the community is involved,” Hogsett said, “when we come together to work together to eradicate challenges.”

Freewheelin’ Community Bikes received nearly $61,000 to continue its youth camp and employment programs.

“We offer basic bicycle mechanics courses, advanced bicycle mechanics courses, non-school time programs, summer camps and fall vacations as well as an on-the-job training program for young people,” said Executive Director LaNisha Clark.

Destiney Wilson, 17, admitted she doesn’t know much about bikes but is learning to help customers and oversee the care of youngsters in the summer camp program.

“There we have parents who need to talk to people, we have to be responsible for each child to make sure everything is going well, so a lot of soft skills,” she said.

“It keeps the kids out of the house and not just out of the house, but out of trouble. I’m not talking so much about the younger kids in camp. I’m talking about kids my age because it’s really tough in this neighborhood. A lot of kids are on the verge of dropping out or doing things they shouldn’t be doing,” she said.

“I feel like this employment program, especially the apprenticeship, really kept me away from home, kept me on track. I feel like I have a purpose, like I’m helping people, I’m not sitting at home thinking, ‘What can I do to make money?’ »

Youth from the Mackida Loveal & Trip Mentoring Outreach Center loaded a trailer with supplies for this Saturday’s Youth Expo at 4160 North Keystone Avenue.

Executive Director Lashauna Triplett said that during the school year, she works with youth who have been referred by the Marion County juvenile justice system or who are at risk of not completing high school.

“By helping them and keeping them out of the system, providing them with academic support, life skills, drug counseling and most importantly with deportations where our academics are spent or expelled, they come to our day report program to be able to get tutoring. and stay on track for graduation,” Triplett said. “We haven’t had any deaths among our young people, our recidivism rate is very low, we’re at around 98%, so we only have 2% of our young people who have reoffended.”

MLT has received a $160,000 grant to expand its Bridging the Gap program to a wider range of Brightwood Martindale neighbors.

“We provide comprehensive support for our families including education, mental health, food deficit relief, just a range of services to keep our families prosperous,” she said. “Mental health resources, rental assistance, we go out to make sure we provide food to fill the food gap because area 46218 is a food desert, so food insecurities, household supplies, security locks from firearms, anything that will help strengthen our community and help reduce crime.

“This grant allows us to help with the reinstatement of the driver’s license,” she said. “We will be able to help restore the driver’s license, pay for these fees, legal fees and even insurance for up to six months to a year.

“As we begin to develop a sense of purpose and pride in our community, we hope with our model that crime will begin to decrease.”

Wilson is about to start his senior year at Crispus Attucks High School, several miles from his home and friends in Brightwood Martindale, without taking advantage of summer opportunities offered by city-funded community anti-violence programs.

“I often feel like you’re a product of your environment, but you also have control over yourself, for example, I grew up here too, and I could be out there doing whatever you want. ‘they’re doing and being out there doing worse, but I’m not,’ she said. ‘If you could be where I am and see how happy these kids are and part of what we do and how happy I am to be a part of what we do, you would realize…honestly…you might want to pay extra taxes. I know it would be…sort of.

The city has pledged to spend $15 million in elevation grants in 2023 and 2024 with the goal of vetting and supporting small community organizations that will eventually get their own non-public funding.

Grant-writing workshops for applicants for the remaining $10.7 million in this year’s funding will take place on Thursday, July 14 with the application deadline before noon on August 1.

Learn more and apply here

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