NewsLocal NewsAkron Canton News


Akron launching grant program in effort to curb violence

Akron crime and violence
Posted at 5:39 PM, Nov 01, 2021

AKRON, Ohio — The City of Akron is starting a new program designed to tackle youth and community violence.

The Violence Intervention and Prevention (VIP) Grant Program is open to nonprofit organizations and faith-based organizations, as well as healthcare organizations that provide care to individuals experiencing trauma exacerbated by the pandemic.

The city is planning an initial allocation up to $450,000 in grant funding by the end of this year.

The VIP grant application will remain open on a rolling basis over the next several years with additional funding awards being made quarterly through 2022, according to the mayor's office.

Akron has set aside $10 million in American Rescue Plan funding to provide grants and technical assistance to organizations that are working to prevent violence from occurring, stop the progression of violence, and rehabilitate individuals with a history of violence.

"The pandemic has affected our city in many challenging ways, including creating the conditions that led to a spike in gun homicides," said Mayor Dan Horrigan. "Decreasing this violence in our community requires a comprehensive, multi-faceted approach that supports effective policing but also goes beyond that."

Since 2020, there have been 87 murders in Akron, most of them from gunfire. According to Akron police, there have been 1,430 firearms-related incidents in the city during the same time period, including shootings, discharging weapons and robberies committed with guns.

In addition to the VIP Grant Program, the city is also searching for a Violence Prevention Coordinator to serve as the city's staff resource for violence reduction initiatives, community-based intervention and coordination of a comprehensive effort to address youth violence.

Tim Anderson runs Fallen Fathers Foundation, a non-profit that mentors adult felons and at-risk youth.

Anderson, who spent time in prison for a shooting, believes his after school and summer programs are critical for some teens during a time when violence is hitting the city hard.

He plans to apply for a portion of the grant so he can expand services and hire more staff.

"Talking to a lot of these teenagers, they don't want to go to jail. They don't want to die. It's kind of like they feel like they've started and now they're stuck. So how do I get out? I feel it's up to us to show them a different way," Anderson said.