PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Pennsylvania lawmakers are announcing more money to fight crime in communities across the commonwealth. Community groups are now encouraged to apply for grants to help with the problem.
Gov. Tom Wolf was in West Philadelphia on Thursday with State Sen. Vincent Hughes and others to announce these grants. They announced about $30 million in grants will be handed out to groups to try to put a stop to gun violence.READ MORE: Pennsauken Police Searching For Hit-And-Run Driver Who Killed Shadid Fauntleroy While Crossing Route 130
“We cannot overstate how painful and damaging gun violence is to our communities. The fear, stress and grief gun violence leaves in its wake hurts every member of our communities,” Wolf said. “This funding will provide communities and organizations with resources to implement or support programs that are tackling community violence. I’m grateful to those who are taking steps every day to keep their communities safe and I urge them to apply for this opportunity.”
The visit comes hours after a drive-by shooting injured four people in Mantua. The shooting forced a nearby school to lockdown.
“My message is: I’m sorry. This is a tragedy that is tragic for all of Pennsylvania,” Gov. Wolf said.
The money is coming from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. Only community and neighborhood-based organizations that are geared towards crime prevention can apply for them.
“We’ve advocated, in the budget negotiating process in May and June, for hundreds of millions of dollars to be spent in this space. The number that was achieved here in this particular category is 30 million,” Sen. Hughes said. “This is brand new money never spent in this space before so that’s a win.”
For leaders who run those neighborhood organizations, a bit of hope through a devastating crisis.READ MORE: Upper Darby Mayor Unveils Plan To Resolve Battle Over Control Of Summer Stage
“I feel like I’m in a war zone,” Reuben Jones told CBS3.
Jones is the executive director of Frontline Dads Inc., a mentorship nonprofit based in West Philadelphia. He thinks the grants could be a major game-changer.
“We’re here to do our part in collaboration with all the other groups to do their part,” he said. “We’re just here to stand up for the citizens of Philly and make it a safer city for everybody.”
Wolf knows the $30 million is critical.
“It’s a nice increase. We need to spend more in this space. We need to do more in education. We need billions in education. We need to do more in housing. We need to do more in jobs. We need to do more in criminal justice reform. We have a whole lot of things we have to do, but we have to do this as well.”
Philadelphia currently has at least 393 homicides for the year. Officials said crime is on the rise across the state.
More detailed information about the application process can be found in the Violence Prevention and Intervention (VIP) Funding Announcement on PCCD’s website. The deadline to apply is Oct. 15.MORE NEWS: Man Robs 16-Year-Old Girl At Knifepoint At SEPTA Station, Police Say
CBS3’s Howard Monroe contributed to this report.