Common Council Provides Update on Community Violence Program Common Council Provides Update on Community Violence Program

DV: The Syracuse Common Council met Monday and chose a new direction for the program.

DV: Adults are now being advised on finding jobs instead of being given a 100-dollar weekly stipend.

DV: City spokesman Lateef Johnson-Kinsey says citizenship comes even before finding a job.

LJK: “The first thing is to assign them a case manager who will be a credible messenger to begin to walk them through the process of becoming a citizen.”

DV: Even though there are just 50 people in the program, the city knows that everyone won’t finish.

DV: However, Johnson-Kinsey says the focus will be on those who do.

LJK: “We won’t get all 50 through but the ones we are successful with, we want to make sure we’re pushing their stories so that people are seeing the positive part.”

DV: Johnson-Kinsey adds that the Common Council will vote in September on whether or not to make the program permanent.

DV: For NCC News, I’m Drew VonScio.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – A Syracuse program to reduce violence has been changed as participants are no longer being paid by the city.

The Community Violence Intervention plan originally provided a $100 per week stipend. However, the Common Council deemed last Monday that funneling the individuals into workforce development is a much better route to get them away from violence. This decision came about especially once the community got word of the term “stipend.”

“They hear the word stipend, and also what was put out there that we were going to pay gang members a stipend,” said Lateef Johnson-Kinsey, Director of the Mayor’s Office to Reduce Gun Violence. “So, we had to make some changes and make sure we presented it properly.”

The program has been in place since January, but the meeting last Monday provided an update on the status of the program, according to senior public information officer Brooke Schneider.

Six months later, the program is working with 50 individuals who were labeled by law enforcement and the city as the most-inclined to participate gun violence.

Johnson-Kinsey mentioned the city is already looking at two partnerships with CNY Works and Jubilee Homes to funnel individuals into the workforce after a 60-90-day period of meeting with a case manager and walking them through the process of becoming a citizen.

He added that cognitive behavioral therapy has been proven to work to stop the behavior of a shooter or someone that is continuing in criminal activity.

The city understands that not all 50 individuals selected for the trial will make it through, but the main focus is sharing the stories of those who are successful to ensure the positives resonate through the community.

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