May 2022

Columbus City Council to review safety youth programs ahead of summer

Courtesy of  WTTE FOX 28
By Mike McCarthy
May 12, 2022

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX) — Columbus City Council is preparing for summer and ways to combat youth violence.

A public hearing is scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday at Columbus City Hall to review the 2021 expanded funding for youth safety initiatives as council members assess funding plans for this summer.

Councilmember Emmanuel Remy, chair of the Safety Committee, and Council President Shannon Hardin are hosting the hearing in council chambers.

“We know that we can’t police our way out of violence, that it takes a collaborative effort. So, providing youth funding is very important,” Remy said. “Whether that’s through employment programs or activities that different organizations provide, we are looking for a robust round of programming so that there is less opportunity to get involved in violence.”

The hearing is focused on a review of the $1.37 million in grants the city allocated to 10 agencies from the Reimagining Safety Fund as youth violence was on the rise last summer.

Grant recipients included:

Urban Scouts: $200,000
Legacy Youth Sports League: $200,000
Africentric Personal Development Shop: $170,000
Community of Caring Development Foundation and St. Stephen’s Community House: $135,000
Community Development for All People: $90,000
Marion-Franklin Civic Association: $50,000
Columbus Urban League: $200,000
Community for New Direction: $170,000
Martin de Porres Center: $131,000
Highland Youth Garden: $25,000
Organizations seeking additional funding this year are expected to outline how the previous grants were used to evaluate successes and shortcomings.

“We want to see what type of activities worked (and) what didn’t work,” Remy said. “We believe that will be able to tell what was successful and what wasn’t as we announce an even more robust round of programming this year.”

Council is expected to further outline decisions on 2022 summer funding and programming within the next two weeks.

Violence in Columbus is down this year compared to 2021 when the city hit a record of 205 homicides. The number of homicides has dropped 36% as of May 12, according to homicide data compiled by ABC 6/ FOX 28.

MORE | Central Ohio police agencies working to curb the spike in suburban crime
The Reimagining Public Safety Grants were a small portion of the $21.07 million allocated to Columbus-area summer youth activity programs in 2021.

As part of that, Columbus Recreation and Parks contributed $4.1 million in city funding, and Mayor Andrew Ginther allocated $15.6 million in federal COVID-19 reliefs to short-term summer youth engagement and anti-violence efforts.

Additionally, recreation and parks allocated $4.2 million in city funds to nonprofit organizations that provide youth programming centered on addressing educational disparities and/or promoting healthy childhood environments.

Councilmember Remy said supporting youth extends beyond city funding and requires the help of families and the overall community.

“We certainly know that we have to be a contributing partner, and parents have to do their part, community groups, and churches, just across the board,” he said.

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