Photo: Sen. Tim Kearney Twitter
Photo: Twitter- Sen. Tim Kearney

Governor Tom Wolf announces more than $15 million for gun violence prevention in PA

The governor was in West Philadelphia alongside PA State Senator Vincent Hughes.


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On Thursday, Jan. 20 in Philadelphia’s Mill Creek neighborhood, Gov. Tom Wolf, along with Sen. Vincent Hughes and other lawmakers, announced a more than $15 million increase in state funding to support gun violence prevention efforts.

After working with Hughes, the Democratic Appropriations Committee Chairman, to get violence prevention funding included in the current state budget, Wolf has visited communities across Pennsylvania several times over the past year to discuss efforts to mitigate the rise in violence that has plagued Philadelphia as well as counties across Pennsylvania.

The money comes through the Pennsylvania Commission for Crime and Deliquency’s Gun Violence and Intervention program, which initially had $8 million for grants this month.

The additional funding, which came from the American Rescue Plan, will also go towards community violence prevention grant programs. 

“I am proud to announce an additional $15.7 million dollars of violence intervention and prevention grant funding that has been distributed to community organizations, and I want to point out that that’s community organizations — not some big institution out there somewhere,” Wolf said.

In 2021, there were 562 homicides in Philadelphia alone, a 135 increase from the previous year and the highest total on record for the city. 

But lawmakers made a point to say that Philadelphia isn’t suffering alone in this crisis.

“Communities across Pennsylvania have seen an increase in shootings and gun violence — Pittsburgh, York, Reading, Philadelphia, among others,” Wolf said.

Wolf called on Republican state lawmakers in Harrisburg to join their efforts to provide additional funding to prevent violence. 

“Gun violence, just like so many forms of systemic inequality, disproportionately harms communities of color and historically marginalized communities,” Wolf said.

“This is not just a Philadelphia issue. We have a proliferation of guns and disparity in underserved communities in every corner of the state and it serves to destabilize neighborhoods,” Hughes said. 

Michelle Bolling, mother of Philadelphia gun violence survivor Sadiq Nelson, joined the lawmakers to share her story. One day after she turned 19 in 2020, her son was hit by stray gunfire while he was leaving work. While Nelson is still alive, Bolling knows many mothers in her community whose children have not survived. 

One of the groups that will be funded is ACHIEVEability, a nonprofit based in West Philly that helps homeless single parents with housing, education, and other support services.

Executive Director Jamila Harris-Morrison said that with the funding, they will continue to support their newly-created jobs program.

“Our program is not directly connected to a school, but we’re really trying to get those individuals who are out on the street that we see loitering, nuisance behaviors. How can we get them into something more productive?,” Harris-Morrison told KYW Radio

“We know that the need is far greater than the funds available, but this announcement is another step toward closing that gap and helping families across Pennsylvania thrive in safer communities,” Chairman Hughes said.


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