Flint, MI – The city of Flint received $1.5 million in federal grant dollars to help prevent violence in the community.

The funding comes through the United States Department of Justice’s Community-Based Violence Intervention and Prevention Initiative.

Flint’s Chief Resilience Officer, Lottie Ferguson, said the city applied for the grant in response to public concern about crime during a Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022 press conference.

“We have listened to what the community deems as important issues to them, and one of them is the reduction of crime. So we are being intentional and going after grant funds to ensure the safety of Flint residents,” Ferguson said. “This is the first of hopefully many public safety grants that we will pursue.”

City officials said it will take three full years to fully implement the grant, with the first year dedicated to planning eligible uses for the $1.5 million.

Ferguson said that the city plans to work with mental health providers, religious organizations, local law enforcement and victim rights advocates to determine the best strategy for spending the funds.

Ferguson also said that the federal grant dollars will remain in the city’s coffers during the planning phase, rather than entrusting them to a third party. She said the community organizations who will help implement programming will likely not see the funding until late 2023, once planning is complete. 

In an Oct. 12 press release on the matter, the city announced that it partnered with the Gun Violence Prevention Network and the Community Foundation of Greater Flint to help plan the grant spending. The city said it will also work with Michigan State University to gather data on crime and measure the success of its grant-funded community programs.

At the press conference, Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley said the grant money will be used to “fill the gaps” in the city’s public safety programs but did not identify what specific gaps his administration plans to address.

According to the Department of Justice’s website, the Community-Based Violence Intervention and Prevention Initiative program “uses evidence-informed strategies to reduce violence through tailored community-centered initiatives.”

Zachary Marano is Flint Beat’s local government reporter. Zack is originally from Milford township and returns to southeast Michigan after reporting for a daily newspaper in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula....

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