Bizzarro, Harkins, Merski: More than $1.3 million to fund anti-crime, victim support and youth mentoring programs Erie County

HARRISBURG, June 14 – Nearly $1.33 million in grants will fund programs and services to reduce crime, assist victims, address substance abuse and support at-risk youth in Erie County, state Reps. Ryan Bizzarro, Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, all D-Erie, announced today.

The funding – administered by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency – includes eight grants to various Erie County criminal justice, protection and advocacy, and community service agencies.

“Our community thrives when all of us thrive,” Bizzarro said. “By funding evidence-based projects and pilot programs, these grants will help us reach those in our community who are at risk, whether they’re residents struggling with substance abuse, family members living with the threat of domestic violence or youth who are falling into crime or delinquency.”

Harkins said he was especially encouraged by the funding to advocacy and victims’ agencies. 

“Our safety as a community is important, but it’s also critically important to ensure that those who have been victimized by domestic abuse, sexual abuse, or other violent crimes receive the assistance they need to rebuild their lives,” Harkins said. “This funding will help provide essential protective services, counseling and most importantly – hope – to residents whose lives have been turned upside down by violent crime.”

Merski noted that the grants will also fund resources to break the cycle of crime by assisting at-risk youth.

“The grants are great news for our community because they will fund evidence-based programs that help us attack the root causes of delinquency and addiction,” Merski said. “Pilot programs that steer kids away from known risk factors through programs that provide mentoring, life-skills coaching, and other support services can help redirect kids and have a huge impact on their future.”

The grants will go to the following agencies and projects in the following amounts:

Criminal Justice Advisory Committee – Residential Substance Abuse & Treatment Funds - 
Project Safe Neighborhoods – Erie City Police – PSN Western District – $81,709

The federal funds will support the Erie City Police with overtime for local law enforcement officers to conduct targeted enforcement efforts for violent offenders.

Victims’ Service Advisory Committee – 2019-20 Victims of Crime Act Funding – Noncompetitive Extension
Children’s Advocacy Center of Erie County, Inc. – Erie CAC VOCA Grant – $2,476
Crime Victim Center of Erie County, Inc. – VOCA Victim Services & Sexual Assault Ext. – $426,881
Protection From Abuse Coordinated Services, Inc. – Court Advocacy –$131,174
Safe Journey – Safe Journey Ext – $221,080
Safenet: Domestic Violence Safety Network, Inc. – Project Protect – $100,601

Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Committee – State Violence and Delinquency Prevention Program Funds
Family Services of NW PA – Erie County Big Brothers Big Sisters – $99,992

The project goal is to assist 100 at-risk youth in Erie and Crawford counties through mentoring services to minimize their risk of substance abuse and delinquency and maximize their personal achievement.

JJDPC – State Opioid Misuse Prevention Programs Funds
Family Services of NW PA – Erie Opioid Reduction Pilot Project – $262,642 (combined state and federal funds)

The funding will support the 5-year Erie Opioid Reduction Pilot Project by funding evidence-based life skills and family-strengthening programs and developing public health and education campaigns, among other measures, for Erie students and families.

The PCCD provides planning, coordination, and technical assistance to the state’s criminal justice system and serves as a clearinghouse for state and federal grants to support criminal and juvenile justice.