Niagara Falls Receives Funding for SNUG Street Outreach Programs to Reduce Gun Violence

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Fri Sep 9, 2022 10:10 p.m.

Governor Kathy Hochul announced $1 million in public funding has been provided to two community organizations in Niagara Falls and Utica to establish SNUG Street Outreach programs. Secured by the governor in this year’s state budget, the funding expands the program from 12 to 14 communities statewide.

The Hochul team said: “SNUG uses a public health approach to reduce gun violence by identifying the source, interrupting transmission and treating it by providing services and resources to individuals and families and changing community standards regarding gun violence.”

She said: “We are taking a holistic approach and mobilizing resources to support innovative and effective solutions to violence and violent crime on our streets, and programs like SNUG continue to show great progress. We have seen the impact success of the SNUG Street Outreach program in areas across New York State, and the additional funding announced today will expand this successful program and help communities and local law enforcement agencies fight the scourge of gun violence. My administration will continue to expand and fund the state’s network of violence interrupters to support this work on the ground.”

The state’s Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) solicited proposals from community organizations to operate SNUG programs in Niagara Falls, Schenectady and Utica. Community Missions of Niagara Frontier will receive $500,000 for the Niagara Falls program, and Integrated Community Alternatives Network (ICAN) will receive $500,000 to establish SNUG in Utica.

DCJS will relaunch a call for proposals this fall to establish a program at Schenectady due to an insufficient number of eligible applications received; this will ensure a competitive selection process.

DCJS Commissioner Rossana Rosado said, “I have traveled across the state, met with our SNUG team members and seen firsthand the critical role they play in the fight against gun violence. have seen their success in overcoming obstacles in their own lives and the change they make in the lives of other young people by believing in them, helping them to believe in themselves and providing alternatives for young people at risk, opportunities and support.

Calliana S. Thomas, Director of the New York State Office of Gun Violence Prevention, said, “Community-led and directed strategies are critical to the successful implementation of violence prevention efforts. Programs like SNUG prioritize the well-being of those most likely to be affected by gun violence and are best placed to act directly on the social determinants of health.

Niagara Falls, Utica and Schenectady will join the following communities in the state-supported SNUG network: Albany, the Bronx, Buffalo, Hempstead, Mt. Vernon, Newburgh, Poughkeepsie, Syracuse, Rochester, Troy, Wyandanch and Yonkers.

Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino said, “While gun violence is a national problem, very few people have the courage to seek answers. funding for SNUG in Niagara Falls. SNUG will give our community another tool to tackle this issue and help individuals and families caught in this cycle of violence.

Vice President of Community Missions Specialty Services Eric Boerdner said, “We are thrilled to launch the SNUG Street Outreach Program in Niagara Falls, and we thank Governor Hochul for her support and investment in this vital program. . We must do all we can to reduce gun violence, and street outreach teams play a vital role in reaching and connecting with those at risk of being involved in gun violence, while offering alternatives and support. .Community Missions has a long history of implementing programs to engage and meet community needs with our mutual partners, and we look forward to the challenge. »

The Hochul team said, “Comprehensive training, site visits, and DCJS support sets SNUG apart from other community-based violence interruption programs across the state and country. New staff must complete 40 hours of training and new supervisors complete 32 hours of management training. All staff must also complete 40 hours of professional training per year. This ongoing training and support helps ensure that the program operates consistently across all SNUG sites, even though it is run by different community organizations. This the video presents the program and its work with participants.

“SNUG programs employ street workers, hospital responders, social workers and case managers who work in the community and trauma centers. Outreach workers and hospital responders live in the communities in which they work, and some have been involved in the criminal justice system or have lost loved ones to violence. These credible messengers leverage their community connections to work with adolescents and young adults to detect and defuse conflict before it escalates; respond to fire to prevent retaliation by mediating and assisting family members of those who have been injured or killed; and mentor young people involved in the program to set goals and connect them to education and employment opportunities as well as other services. The programs also engage the community, religious organizations, clergy, and local businesses through rallies, special events, and other community gatherings.

“Social workers and case managers provide those affected by gun violence or other crimes in communities with trauma-informed counselling, support groups, advocacy and assistance in filing victim compensation claims with the state. Victim Services Office, and referrals for other services identified or needed; and offer support and guidance to SNUG team members, many of whom have had complex experiences with trauma. Social workers and case managers at the 12 existing SNUG sites are funded by federal Victim Services Office Victim Services Victims Act (VOCA) grants; the new sites will be entirely financed by state money from the budget adopted this year. »

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