Gov. Tony Evers allocated $10 million from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan to the Medical College of Wisconsin to fund a series of grants to cities, tribes, providers, and community groups.
Pandemic relief funds continue making a difference in Wisconsin with this week’s announcement that 10 different groups, cities, tribes, and providers are splitting $10.4 million in grants in order to reduce violence that has some of its roots in the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Comprehensive Injury Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) assessed and awarded the grants using money from the Wisconsin Community Safety Fund (WCSF).
The funds initially came from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), a 2021 law passed under the Biden administration that directed billions of dollars to Wisconsin to help recover from the pandemic. Gov. Tony Evers allocated a small portion of these funds to the WCSF.
The grants will cover a range of services including outreach, education, evaluation, and help lines and are intended to address increased levels of gun violence, suicide, and intimate partner violence since the start of the pandemic.
“Violence and its effects on kids, families, and communities are not inevitable, and I was glad to allocate these funds to further our work to prevent violence, interrupt the cycle of violence, and address this issue like the public health crisis it is,” Evers said in a statement. “From local municipalities, Tribal lands, and health systems, these funds will help address the root causes of violence and support community-based solutions, building healthier, safer communities for all.”
An MCW press release outlined the grants and their purposes:
- Alma Center in Milwaukee will design a statewide online and phone intervention and prevention program.
- The City of Green Bay will create an Office of Violence Prevention to address increased gun violence.
- The City of Kenosha will establish the Key Emerging Leaders Academy to engage youth at highest risk for experiencing or engaging in community violence.
- The City of Racine will establish an Office of Violence Prevention and develop a gun violence intervention plan.
- Gundersen Health System in western Wisconsin will expand its Crime Victim Services (CVS) unit to address increasingly complex needs related to sexual, intimate partner, and gender-based violence; and increase capacity for culturally responsive and equitable care in a six-county area.
- Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin will increase coordination to expand prevention, education, and outreach strategies to specific priority populations.
- The Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians will expand services that prevent and respond to sexual assault using culturally specific outreach.
- The Southeast Asian Healing Center in Madison will address increased suicide risk and gender-based violence using culturally specific strategies.
- The University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics will expand their Violence Intervention Program and conduct an analysis to identify strategies to address prevention, reduction, and response to gun violence.
- United Way of the Fox Cities’ DRIVE Health Project will address unmet mental/emotional needs and suicide risk factors in the Hmong, Black, and Hispanic/Latinx communities through Community Health Workers, a peer support phoneline, and mental health literacy and anti-stigma education campaigns.
“By investing in proven violence prevention strategies, we’re investing in a future that’s healthy and safe for everyone.,” said Terri A. deRoon Cassini, PhD, director of the MCW Comprehensive Injury Center. “We wish to thank the state of Wisconsin for recognizing violence as a public health crisis and funding this life-saving work.”
President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act passed Congress in March 2021 without a single vote from Republicans, who claimed the economic stimulus plan was too costly at the time.More recently, they’ve demanded that unspent funds from the law be clawed back, in return for not forcing the US government to default on its debts.