Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $999,990)
The West Philadelphia Promise Zone (WPPZ) BCJI project will convene a diverse array of public safety stakeholders to plan and implement a trauma-informed gun violence reduction and prevention strategy targeting five hotspots across a two-square mile area of West Philadelphia that experiences chronic socio-economic and health stressors including high poverty, housing and employment instability, and disproportionately extreme rates of gun related crime relative to city and national averages. The project will entail community engagement, neighborhood revitalization, crime prevention and reduction, policy advocacy, research, and program sustainability components.
Some of the key activities initially planned include widespread resident and community capacity building, use of credible peer messengers for, violence interruption and response; mentoring, community-based group and individual therapeutic counseling for survivors of gun violence; in-hospital and post-release wraparound support for victims of gun violence; crime prevention through environmental design interventions; and investment in social determinants of personal and public health including job training and affordable housing. All initial action plan goals, outcomes, activities, and timelines will be subject to review and modification, during the year-one planning phase that will centralize community engagement.
The WPPZ BCJI project will be led by Mt. Vernon Manor CDC, a trusted provider of affordable housing and community development services for over fifty years and an experienced convener and implementer of collaborative community based programs including a previous BCJI project (2012-2015). The current project proposal was conceived cooperatively through the West Philadelphia Promise Zone Public Safety Committee, which is co-facilitated by MVM and includes over a dozen public, nonprofit, educational, civic, and resident leader partners. The project builds on a public safety strategy first implemented during a 2012-2015 BCJI project led by MVM, which achieved crime reduction across six of eight violent crime hotspots in West Philadelphia’s Mantua neighborhood, and elaborated through Public Safety Committee partner activities during the subsequent six years. The project will be supported by partners including residents, People’s Emergency Center CDC, Mantua Civic Association, Anti-Violence Partnership, Drexel University School of Public Health, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, Healing Hurt People, faith based organizations and several public offices including the Philadelphia Police Department, Office of Policy and Strategic Initiatives for Criminal Justice & Public Safety, the 3rd District City Councilperson’s Office, the Department of Public Health, and the Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity.