The Washington D.C. chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statement applauding Mayor Muriel Bowser for including $59.3 million for violence intervention program funding in the 2021-2022 budget proposal. Last year, Mayor Bowser included $9.5 million funding in the budget. Today’s budget announcement also laid out plans to fund a total of $193.7 million to gun violence prevention programs over the next 4 years, utilizing money from the American Rescue Plan.
“Our families and communities are in a constant cycle of trauma due to the gun violence public health crisis plaguing our city,” said Rachel Usdan, a volunteer with the Washington, D.C. chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We applaud Mayor Bowser for making a significant investment in many of the District’s life-saving violence prevention and intervention programs, and we look forward to continuing this conversation with the Council on how to further prioritize gun violence prevention in the District.”
The budget included funding for:
- $11.4 million in cash assistance for returning citizens, financial coaching, and the hiring of peer navigators to help returning citizens transition safely back into the community.
- $7.8 million for additional violence interrupters and $400,000 for additional credible messengers;
- $6.8 million for various agencies to respond to non-emergency 911 calls for mental health distress, minor traffic incidents and parking complaints;
- $5.7 million to divert some 911 calls for residents experiencing mental health distress to the DC Department of Behavioral Health’s Community Response Team;
- $5.6 million to create 278 dedicated employment opportunities through the DC Department of Public Works for individuals at risk of gun violence;
- $4.5 million for the DC Pathways Program to serve an additional 100 individuals at risk of gun violence, and $4.1 million for more wrap-around support services and new Pathways Champions positions for at-risk individuals;
- $2.2 million for temporary safe housing for residents involved in gun violence;
- $2 million to expand offerings from the Department of Parks and Recreation to communities hardest hit by gun violence;
- $1.9 million to expand trauma-informed mental health services;
- $1.5 million in grants to carry out neighborhood action plans for communities hardest hit by gun violence;
- and, $1.1 million for intensive case coordination to assist those more at-risk of gun violence.
Violence Intervention Program funding supports community-based violence intervention programs that apply a localized approach to reducing gun violence in the District’s hardest-hit neighborhoods. These programs apply a public health model to ending gun violence and keeping communities safe. Many community-based prevention and intervention programs in the U.S. have also adapted their strategies to inform community members about the risks of COVID-19.
There are over 14,000 gun homicides in the U.S. every year. In 2015, half of the gun homicides in the US took place in just 127 cities, which contain less than a quarter of the population. In 2020, an estimated 19,300 people were killed in gun homicides or non-suicide-related shootings—a 25 percent increase over 2019 — and shows no sign of slowing down.
More information about violence intervention and prevention funding available here. Statistics about gun violence in Washington D.C. are available here, and information on how Washington D.C.’s gun laws compare to other states overall is available here.
If you have any questions, or would like to speak with volunteers with Washington Moms Demand Action and/or Students Demand Action, please don’t hesitate to reach out.