New York Agencies and Cities Must Work to Unlock Victim of Crime Act Funding to Support and Expand Community-Based Violence Intervention Initiatives
Report Comes During National Gun Violence Survivors Week From February 1-8
NEW YORK — Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund and Cities United today released a new report, A Fund for Healing: VOCA Grants for Violence Reduction, that highlights the millions of unaccessed dollars of federal Victim of Crime Act (VOCA) victim assistance funding available that state agencies — including in New York — can unlock to support local organizations serving victims of gun violence and their communities.
“For every shooting, there’s a whole community left to bear the financial and emotional burdens,” said Monica Cassaberry, a member of the Everytown Survivor Network, whose son, Jamal Singleton, was shot and killed in Brooklyn in 2011 at age the 22. “New York has millions of dollars in VOCA funding available to resource gun violence intervention providers and help survivors of gun violence heal. We owe it to ourselves and our communities to resource our local organizations with this funding.”
“Strengthening our gun laws is always a priority, but we can’t forget about other resources that can help prevent gun violence in New York,” said Natalie Tevethia, a volunteer with the New York chapter of Moms Demand Action. “VOCA funding would support the work our community organizations have been doing for years. Our state has funding available, so it’s time we unlock it to help survivors.”
VOCA victim assistance funding comes from a federal reserve, made available every year to each state. However, many state agencies — including New York’s grant administering agency — are not utilizing the funds, leaving much of the reserve unspent and missing countless opportunities to help survivors of gun violence in need of support services. In the report, Everytown for Gun Safety and Cities United make recommendations for states, cities, hospitals, and local organizations to direct this funding to communities hit hardest by gun violence, like Brooklyn, Rochester and Albany.
- States should dedicate VOCA victim assistance funding to gun violence victim services.
- Cities and hospitals should partner with local gun violence intervention groups to apply for VOCA victim assistance funding.
- Community-based gun violence intervention groups are eligible VOCA victim assistance funding and should seek out partnerships with cities and hospitals.
The report release coincides with National Gun Violence Survivors Week, February 1-8, which focuses on sharing and amplifying the stories of gun violence survivors who live with the impact of gun violence every day of the year. With a gun death rate 11 times greater than other high-income nations, by early February, more people are killed with guns in the U.S. than are killed with guns in our peer countries in an entire calendar year. With the number of survivors of gun violence continuously growing, the need for funding to support them is more important than ever.