publicsafety 110221Senators in the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus support Governor JB Pritzker’s declaration of gun violence as a public health crisis and announcement of a $250 million investment over a three year period to implement the Reimagine Public Safety Plan, a data driven and community-based violence prevention initiative.

“This is a bipartisan investment in our communities to stem the surge in violence,” said Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park). “I’m proud of the work my colleagues did to put this vital initiative together so that we can make a difference.”

Anti-violence funding will support the enactment of the Reimagine Public Safety Act, which establishes the Office of Firearm Violence Prevention within the Illinois Department of Human Services to focus on reducing firearm deaths and injuries in communities with the most gun violence.

The new resources draw from federal and state funding, including $50 million from the fiscal year 2022 state budget. The governor’s administration will work with members of the General Assembly to allocate an additional $100 million in the budgets for fiscal years 2023 and 2024, building on the state’s existing anti-violence investments.  The state will appropriating $507 million for violence prevention, diversion, and youth employment programs in FY ‘22, including $125 million in funds made available from the American Rescue Plan Act.

 “Government's first duty is to center public safety by and for the people,” said State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago). “We must abandon the status quo because it continues to let us down and invest into the collective samaritan such as our Illinois communities and neighborhoods; and this plan will do just that. With this, we’re on a path away from decades of policies that have led us to this point, and towards providing vital, trauma informed services so no child, no parent, and no neighbor are left alone and isolated. This will be the beginning of creating and maintaining public safety for all and not a few.”

The Reimagine Public Safety Act, sponsored by Senator Peters, establishes the Office of Firearm Violence Prevention to focus on reducing firearm violence in communities with the highest rates of gun violence.

“This measure is a bold response to the challenges our communities face,” said State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago). “When we talk about reimagining public safety, we are talking about ensuring communities, especially historically marginalized communities, have access to the resources needed to address critical social problems. Many people think of a police response when they hear public safety, but reimagining public safety requires more than that. This funding will help to better develop healthy partnerships between community members and advocates, police, government officials, and social service providers to critically tackle the violence that exists within our communities.”

The overall violence prevention approach includes four key elements-high risk youth intervention programs, violence prevention services, youth development programs and trauma recovery services for young people.

In the coming weeks, the Office of Firearm Violence Prevention will announce competitive funding opportunities for grants focused on technical assistance for violence prevention and youth development and intervention.  Funding totaling $50 million has been budgeted for the remainder of the  fiscal year and $100 million for each of the subsequent two fiscal years will be requested.  For information on available technical assistance and upcoming funding opportunities, visit the  Illinois Department of Health care and Family Services website.

Additionally, the Illinois Criminal Justice Authority and the Illinois Department of Human Services have launched technical assistance and training opportunities for community organizations across the state to apply for funding that will help address factors that contribute to gun violence.

More information about the Violence Prevention Plan is available on the Illinois Criminal Justice Authority website.