Benham praises $7.7 million for violence prevention programs

Among $100 million in PCCD grants awarded throughout PA

PITTSBURGH, Jan. 13 – Nearly $8 million has been awarded through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency to support local violence prevention efforts, state Rep. Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny, announced today.

“I am deeply saddened that violent crime continues to be prevalent in our communities,” said Benham. “The grants awarded to these organizations serving House District 36 represents an ongoing commitment to support local programs aimed at preventing future incidences of gun violence and other preventable tragedies.”

The following local funding was included among $100 million in grants announced for projects across the state this week:


  • $2.5 million to the Center for Victims to provide comprehensive resources for responses to gun/group violence that includes crisis response, targeted therapy and counseling, legal advocacy, long-term wellness and healing strategies, and expansion of ongoing violence interruption, intervention, and prevention efforts. Funding will support a percentage of personnel costs for current and new staff members. Ultimately, this project will enhance CV’s reach and ability to provide ongoing core services to victims, and to implement prevention and intervention strategies in communities.


  • $2.5 million to the Safe Passages program, which is focused on combatting violence in schools. Specifically, this project will put Youth Ambassadors inside several local schools to serve as violence interrupters and identify at-risk youth to help them become part of the peace-keeping solution, as well as other operational costs of the program.


  • $2.4 million to The Allegheny County Department of Human Services to implement the Rapid Employment and Development Initiative Chicago program model in Allegheny County across three geographic regions, including South Pittsburgh, deeply affected by community violence. READI is an intensive 12-month initiative that connects people most highly impacted by violence with evidence-based interventions intended to decrease violence involvement, arrests, and recidivism among adult men facing high rates of arrests and victimizations.


  • $187,500 to The Pittsburgh Contingency, Inc. for Voices Against Violence with RefocusED to create and implement a Youth Anti-Violence Mental Health Initiative Course. This unique program, created with Imagine Further Collective, will help area youth identify, process, and regulate their emotions, understand conflict, and learn resolution techniques, and improve self-esteem and learn leadership skills. These funds will be used for personnel, transportation for a program activity, general office supplies, consultants for data analysis and mental health services, stipends, and indirect costs.


  • $160,000 to The Pittsburgh Contingency, Inc. for The South Pittsburgh Coalition for Peace to support the “South Pittsburgh Peacemakers” street outreach violence prevention program. This program targets active gang members, shooters, and violent offenders through the SPP component of SPCP, which consists of four South Pittsburgh intervention specialists and a chaplain, who are trained peacemakers, violence interrupters, and outreach workers designed to prevent shootings by identifying and mediating potentially lethal conflicts.


More information on PCCD grants awarded this week is available here.