In a statement late last week, President Joe Biden hammered away at his push to make cities and towns across the United States a safer place to live, calling on state and local leaders to dedicate more of the American Rescue Plan funding to this initiative—and quickly. The announcement came with a progress report on the White House’s Community Violence Intervention Collaborative (CVIC):  $10 billion in American Rescue Plan funding, including at least $6.5 billion in state and local funds have been given to communities across the country along with support from the Justice Department.

The United States is facing an uptick in violent crime across many of its major metro areas. As we head into summer, a time when crime usually rises, the White House is drilling home the need for community violence intervention (CVI) work as an essential public safety strategy in communities across the country. And Hyphen, an organization committed to maximizing the impact of federal policies with change-making potential for low-income families, communities of color, and other marginalized populations, is working to ensure the investment is a valuable one with real results. 

“Following a steady increase in shootings over the past two years, officials at all levels of government are finally recognizing what we have long known: policing alone is not enough to reduce gun violence,” says Hyphen’s CVI Collaborative Advisor, Aqeela Sherrills. “Strong, holistic, and well-resourced community-based programs are needed to get to the root of violent crime and achieve lasting public safety.” 

In an effort to strengthen public safety, expand economic opportunity and safety-net programs, and ensure that the rebuilding of the nation’s infrastructure leads to equitable outcomes for underserved communities and the broader society, Hyphen has selected 53 Black and Brown community-based organizations to undergo its training and technical assistance program, taking a critical step in turning the historic level of federal funding into transformative action.

According to a press release shared with EBONY, the first-of-its-kind program in support of CVIC, will provide community violence intervention organizations with essential resources, support, and professionalization. Led by Sherrills, the goal is to not only intervene and stop violence, but to also cultivate real public safety and wellness and ensure that the work becomes a robust and enduring element of public safety infrastructure in the 16 jurisdictions it has selected to undergo the training. 

“There’s no overnight solution to violent crime—but, for the first time, there is federal recognition and support for the proven, community-based strategies required to sustainably decrease gun violence,” says Sherrills. “The implementation of Hyphen’s TTA program, in support of the White House Community Violence Intervention Collaborative, marks a sea change in the approach to violent crime and a new chapter in each of the 16 jurisdictions’ understanding of true public safety.”