The Local Initiatives Support Corp. (LISC) has been tapped again by the Department of Justice to work on a program to help troubled neighborhoods become safer places to live.
The department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance announced that 14 communities across the country will receive $12.4 million in grants through its Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation (BCJI) program. The grants include $1.5 million for LISC to support the 2013 grantees work. LISC was also selected to support the program last year.
The 2013 BCJI grantees include a number of communities where LISC is already deeply engaged in community safety work. Grantees are: city of Corning, Calif.; San Francisco District Attorney’s Office; Youth Policy Institute, Los Angeles; Georgia Department of Public Health, Atlanta; city of Baton Rouge/parish of East Baton Rouge, La.; city of Springfield, Mass.; Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission, Mo.; Fund for the City of New York, Syracuse; city of Cleveland, Ohio; Martha O’Bryan Center, Inc., Nashville; ECHO Housing Corp., Evansville, Ind.; city of Erie, Pa.; Housing Authority of the city of Tampa, Fla.; Olneyville Housing Corp., Providence, R.I.
“We think of safety as a cornerstone of any effort to make a community a place that people are proud to call home,” said Julia Ryan, director of LISC’s Community Safety Initiative, a national program that works to build bridges between crime reduction and broader community revitalization efforts.
“That’s how the Justice Department views the BCJI program as well,” she said in a statement. “To really make our streets safer in the long run, we can’t treat crime as an isolated problem. It is part of the larger picture of what’s happening within a community and requires multiple parties working together to have an impact. These grants respond to that reality.”
The awards were announced as part of an event at Drexel University in Philadelphia, where officials brought together the 2012 grantees for a two-day meeting on best practices.
To see the program in action, the Justice Department pointed to the Mantua neighborhood in West Philadelphia, adjacent to the Drexel campus. There, nonprofit developer Mount Vernon Manor and We Are Mantua, a community-based organization, have teamed up with LISC, Drexel, and others to change the outlook for their community—in part with a 2012 BCJI grant as well as a Choice Neighborhoods planning grant. Choice Neighborhoods is a federal program focused on revitalizing aging public housing projects and their surrounding neighborhoods.
The Mantua team has finalized its research and planning process and is now moving forward with a plan to address youth violence and other crime, while also rebuilding housing and removing blight.