A local effort that treats community violence as a public health problem has received a nearly $2 million boost from a federal program administered by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf earlier this year announced that Lehigh Valley Health Network’s (LVHN) Cure Violence program, operated in partnership with Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley (PNLV), would receive the grant to help expand the program. LVHN and PNLV previously received a $300,000 grant to get Cure Violence off the ground.
Hasshan Batts, DHSC, director at PNLV, says the program helps those at the local level in their efforts to prevent the spread of violence. Batts, who also co-chairs the Gun Violence Committee of the governor’s Commission on African American Affairs, said the effort focuses on things such as violence prevention, community reentry by victims of violence, racial justice and community capacity building.
Batts says violence prevention coordinators connect with victims to build trust in hopes of preventing them from retaliating and furthering the cycle of violence. The efforts also involve prevention education in schools and family support at the neighborhood level.
The grant funding will allow those efforts to expand outside of Allentown in the Lehigh Valley and into communities such as Hazleton.