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CHICAGO, Ill. (WCIA) — The Governor and the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) are announcing the first of three Notice of Funding Opportunities (NOFOs) for eligible organizations to apply for over $150 million in state funding to further violence prevention efforts.

The first round of funding includes more than $50 million for violence prevention services in Chicago including street-based violence interruption work and victim services. Subsequent rounds of funding for statewide youth development and high-risk youth intervention programs will open later this month.

According to officials, the grants are made possible through the Reimagine Public Safety Act (RPSA), which aims to address the root causes of firearm violence in Illinois through targeted, integrated behavioral health services, access to economic opportunities, and violence interruption and prevention programs.

“Stopping the cycle of violence requires investing in education, employment, human services and mental health – and doing so with a focus on neighborhoods that have been left out and left behind,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “The Reimagine Public Safety Plan represents an unprecedented funding opportunity for organizations on the ground who work every day to save lives. I encourage all eligible community leaders to apply as we work together to deconstruct violence at its root.”

“Everyone deserves to be safe in their community, no matter their zip code, and it is time to be bold and innovative in our response to escalating violence,” said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. “We need to address the root causes of violence and prevent communities from suffering this form of trauma in the first place. The Re-Imagine Safety Act grants will work towards doing just that.”

The initial round of more than $50 million in grants includes funding to support work in 37 eligible community areas, defined by the RPSA as the locations with the most concentrated firearm violence in Chicago. Eligible organizations include those doing street-based violence interruption work, victim services, trauma-related therapy and case management. Interested organizations can view the application online. Applications are due on March 9 and grants will be awarded in April. 

“We must address firearm violence at a very local and neighborhood level. The organizations that will be funded through these grants will change and improve lives. We will work with communities across the state to build safer neighborhoods,” said Chris Patterson, Assistant Secretary, Office of Firearm Violence Prevention at IDHS.

Later this month DHS will open two applications for additional funding opportunities. One will focus on youth development programs statewide and support after school and summer programming designed to invest in programs that are proven to improve school attendance and performance. The second will make funding available for Chicago-based organizations doing high-risk youth intervention work. Grants will be made to support activities that are proven to reduce involvement in the criminal or juvenile justice system, refer teens into therapeutic programs that address trauma recovery, and support related mental health services.

Applications for both the Youth Development and High-Risk Youth Intervention programs will open in February, and awards will be announced in April. All proposals for funding will be evaluated through a merit-based review process.

For further information on available funding opportunities to combat violence, click  here or here