WEST CHESTER (December 2, 2021) – Two Chester County initiatives aimed to prevent gun violence are slated to receive more than $2 million to total state grant funding, state Senator Carolyn Comitta announced.
The funding, which comes through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD)’s Violence Intervention and Prevention (VIP) grant program, supports local programs to stop gun violence in neighborhoods and reduce community violence through outreach and violence interruption programs.
In Chester County, the grants that received initial approval are as follows:
- $1,520,092 to West Chester University to increase access to evidence-based, trauma-informed behavioral health care for youth and young adults in Coatesville, Pottstown, Norristown, and Reading. Mental health care providers will deliver mobile therapy via telehealth or in-person at sites in at-risk communities.
- $500,000 to the Youth Mentoring Partnership in Exton to support, expand, and enhance its mentoring, safe haven and social-emotional learning programs for middle and high school youth 11-19 years of age. It will also support reentry efforts from incarceration, through access to healthcare, stable housing, educational opportunities, and meaningful employment.
Comitta, a member of the bicameral PA Safe Caucus, said the investments will support proven strategies and programs to prevent and reduce gun violence at the community level.
“Everyone in every community deserves to live and thrive in a healthy, safe, and peaceful environment,” Comitta said. “It is critical that we invest in the efforts of our local groups and organization that are working directly with residents and on the frontlines of the crisis of gun violence. In addition, this funding offers direct and targeted support and mental health resources for those in underserved communities.”
“Gun violence is a scourge that cuts right to the heart of our communities. We must do more to prevent violence in our commonwealth and stop the trauma of violence from blighting our future,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “These grants will provide communities and local organizations with necessary resources to disrupt violence, promote healing and make our communities safer. This funding is an important next step in tackling the gun violence epidemic and reducing violence in our communities.”
Mark Mintzer, CEO of Youth Mentoring Partnership said, “The funds provided by the Commonwealth’s VIP anti-violence grant program come at an immensely critical time for the families and communities we serve. These resources will allow us to expand our collaborative efforts, including those in the greater Coatesville Area, providing vulnerable youth with additional trauma-informed mentors, safe havens, and our unique 3G social-emotional learning curriculum. Special thanks to Senator Carolyn Comitta and Chester County Commissioner Marian Moskowitz and their offices for their support around these initiatives.”
The Chester County programs come as part of $15.7 million in total grant funding initially approved to support 40 projects and programs to stop gun and community violence statewide.