Philadelphia and PHA announce new violence prevention initiative

The program focuses on those at the highest risk of either becoming a victim of gun violence or participating in violent crimes.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- As families grieve and lawmakers work to find solutions after yet another mass shooting, the city of Philadelphia is trying out new strategies to put an end to its gun violence crisis.

It's a new effort to combat a crisis that has claimed more than 170 lives in Philadelphia, so far, this year.

Mayor Jim Kenney said the partnership with the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) is "a meaningful step forward that will help enhance our ability to deliver resources, supports, and services to the people most in need."

"As we fight to protect our communities and do everything we can to create a safer Philadelphia, we continue to strive towards stronger collaboration and coordination across all our services with a strong focus on neighborhoods and areas of the city that are most impacted by violence," said Kenney.

The program focuses on people who are at the highest risk of either becoming a victim of gun violence or participating in violent crimes. The program targets men between the ages 18 to 34 and the neighborhoods in Philadelphia that need it most.

The initiative will launch at the following PHA sites: Bartram Village, Strawberry Mansion Apartments & Gordon Apartments, Wilson Park, Raymond Rosen and Richard Allen homes.

"I think this will be good. They need some guidance, some leaders and more activities going on so they have something to do around here," said James Lee of North Philadelphia.

The new initiative includes outreach and support through various sessions, including financial, professional, mental health support, skill-building, employment services and more.

Participants who stick with the program will receive financial incentives of up to $1,000 funded by the city and PHA.

Kenney says this is another start towards much-needed change.

"Every day in this country, including here in Philadelphia, people are senselessly killed. We cannot accept continued violence as a way of life in our country," said Kenney.

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