CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker declared gun violence a public health crisis on Monday, saying $250 million in state and federal money will be directed toward the issue over the next three years.
Governor Pritzker's Executive Order 2021-2029 formally declared gun violence a public health crisis. Public health experts and researchers have called gun violence a public health threat for years. Over the summer, New York declared gun violence a disaster emergency.
The administration is also establishing the Office of Firearm Violence Prevention (OFPV) through what they're calling The Reimagine Public Safety Act (RPSA) and the Reimagine Public Safety plan. The plan is intended to focus on reducing firearm violence in communities with the highest rates of gun violence using a data-driven and community-based violence prevention initiative, and provides $250 million in funding to "see it through."
The new resources draw from federal and state funding. Pritzker's office said about $50 million of the Illinois effort will come from the current state budget for fiscal year 2022 and follow the same approach in the following two years. The administration pledged to work with members of Illinois' General Assembly to secure the additional funding in the budgets for fiscal years 2023 and 2024.
The state will begin issuing Notices of Funding Opportunities for qualified organizations before the end of 2021. Community organizations will be able to apply for funding in areas including youth intervention programs, trauma recovery, and other mental health services.
Pritzker called it "an unprecedented statewide investment in the pursuit of violence reduction."
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