Gov. Pritzker declares gun violence a public health crisis; launches new safety plan


CHICAGO (WMBD) — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker declared gun violence a public health crisis today. The state is committing $250 M over the next three years to implement the Reimagine Public Safety plan.

The plan is a data-driven program and will be a community-based violence prevention initiative.

Gov. Pritzker issued an Executive Order requiring relevant state agencies to work with the new Office of Firearm Violence Prevention (OFVP) to address the systemic causes of firearm violence and to develop trauma-informed and equity-based strategies.

 The state will begin issuing Notices of Funding Opportunities for qualified organizations before the end of 2021 with a goal of enabling work to be well underway before the summer of 2022.

“Every neighborhood and every home deserve to be free from violence, and the State of Illinois is making an unprecedented statewide investment in the pursuit of violence reduction through the Reimagine Public Safety Act,” said Governor JB Pritzker. 

The new resources draw from federal and State funding, including $50 million from the fiscal year 2022 state budget. The administration will work with members of the General Assembly on additional $100 million appropriations in the budgets for fiscal years 2023 and 2024.

The overall violence prevention approach includes four key elements: 

·  High-risk youth intervention programs that have been proven to reduce involvement in the criminal or juvenile justice system, referrals of teens into therapeutic programs that address trauma recovery and other mental health services.  

· Violence prevention services, including street-based violence interruption work, emotional or trauma related therapy, housing, employment, job training/placement, family engagement, and wrap-around support services.

·Youth development programs, including after-school and summer programming to increase school attendance and school performance, reduce criminal justice system involvement, and build social-emotional persistence and intelligence.

·Trauma recovery services for young people, funded by Medicaid, designed and implemented by the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, to address trauma recovery from chronic exposure to firearm violence. A team-based model of care will include case management and school support services, group and individual therapy, and evidence-based family systems interventions.

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