President Preckwinkle Announces Latest Round of Violence Reduction and Restorative Justice Grants

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle today announced that the Justice Advisory Council will award $2.9 million in grants aimed at reducing violence and fostering restorative justice. 

Through the Justice Advisory Council, Cook County has distributed almost $18 million dollars to community partners in anti-violence, anti-recidivism and restorative justice grants. 

“These investments build on the vital work that has been ongoing as part of my administration’s commitments to addressing the issues that are at the root cause of violence,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said. “We are not slapping Band-Aids on deep wounds.  Instead we are directly addressing trauma, injury, isolation and deprivation operating in the poorest neighborhoods – the things that drive the most vulnerable towards crime and violence.”

Recipients of the grants were determined via the competitive Request for Proposals process.  

The Justice Advisory Council led the effort, with input from the Public Defender, the State’s Attorney’s Office, Cook County Health and Hospitals System and the County’s Probation Department. Commissioner Deborah Sims and Commissioner Luis Arroyo Jr., served on the evaluation committee for the violence reduction grants.

The following organizations and partnerships each received a $300,000, two-year grant. 

•    Alternatives Schools Network. Alternatives Schools Network will provide an academic enrichment programs targeted at re-enrolled drop outs in alternative high schools in Humboldt Park and South Lawndale. This program, STOPP, includes academic supports, career emphasis, and behavioral therapy

•    OAI, Inc. OAI, Inc. will provide a robotics technology collaborative, which provides opportunities to address violence by training in special manufacturing skills and connecting 18 to 24 year olds at risk of involvement with gun use and gangs to employment options. The program will target Housing Authority of Cook County (HACC) residents living in Robbins and Chicago Heights, and will hold "build a laptop" camps at HACC

•    Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation. Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation will provide street outreach, violence interruption, case management and job readiness training for 90 14 to 26 year olds in New City and Englewood. The program would include funding a job developer who maintains relationships with supportive employers, a full-time job coach and a full-time case manager.

•    UCAN. UCAN will provide violence interruption, personalized mentoring, counseling, workforce development and wraparound services for 12 to 26 year olds who have been victims of violence, perpetrators of violence and/or referrals from court agencies in North Lawndale.

•    Westside Health Authority. Westside Health Authority will provide Project AVERT program, which provides targeted youth education, employable skills and counseling for those under 25 re-entering their communities following detention. Services include pre-release case management; role modelling therapy and post-release substance use counseling; job readiness and placement; and supportive services.

•    Roseland Ceasefire. Roseland Ceasefire will provide outreach workers or violence interpreters to mitigate conflict before it turns violent. This program would be a violence interruption program with an education component. The program would serve Roseland and the south suburbs.

•    Northwest Side Housing Center. Northwest Side Housing Center will provide safe spaces, de-escalation, self-regulation, mediation and implement restorative justice practices and trainings to address in-school suspensions, classroom disruptions, chronic truancy of medium and high-risk students referred by the school’s discipline team. The program is collaboration between Steinmetz College Prep, Northwest Side Housing Center and PCC Wellness Center to serve students from Steinmetz.

•    Enlace Chicago. Enlace Chicago will provide assessments and referrals of youth between the ages of 10 to 15 years in the Little Village Neighborhood to several organizations that could provide services based on the needs determined in the assessment. Enlace offers many services both in house and through its partners. Enlace will also standardize data collection and referral practices throughout the nonprofit network in Little Village.

In addition, the Justice Advisory Council has awarded grants in the amount of $80,000 each to Umoja Student Development, Mikva Challenge, Center for Conflict Resolution, Erie Neighborhood House, The Miracle Center and P.E.A.C.E. in the south suburbs.  These restorative justice programs address harm done to individuals without pushing youth into involvement in the criminal justice system, helping to restore communities.