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Lynn receives $400k to fight violence

The Daily Item - 12/8/2022

Dec. 8—LYNN — The city will receive $401,635 through the Senator Charles E. Shannon Jr. Community Safety Initiative Grant program (Shannon Grant) to help address and combat gang and youth violence.

LifeScene, a local nonprofit that focuses on assisting vulnerable families and youths, applied for the funding earlier this year, and will distribute the funds to the Lynn Police Department, the Department of Parks and Recreation, Lynn Youth Street Outreach Advocacy (LYSOA) and the Lynn'sCatholic Charities branch to create and fund programs designed to keep young Lynners away from violence and crime.

LifeScene Executive Director Selvin Chambers said in an interview Wednesday that additional funding will go toward North Shore Community College, which helps the organization keep records on youth violence and crime in the area.

"Each organization is focused on helping to support people who've been engaged in street issues or to deviate them from being involved in the street. And each agency does that in different ways," Chambers said. "There will be more activities that will be coming out during the 2023 Fiscal Year. We're looking to be more actively engaged in the community and to really have more activities that are really involving more youth than we have in the past."

The Shannon grant aims to serve youth and emerging adults between the ages of 10 and 24 living in a community that has been identified as a "hot-spot" and who are at-risk or high-risk of gang involvement. Under the grant program, the state awarded more than $10 million in funding to 22 different communities across the commonwealth.

"Since taking office, I have worked to ensure that Massachusetts communities have the resources necessary to promote public safety while providing positive opportunities for young people. There is no single agency or approach that can achieve this goal. The partnerships built through the Shannon Community Safety Initiative are an important part of our work creating safer communities," Governor Charlie Baker said in a written statement.

The program provides funding, oversight, and technical assistance to support regional and multi-disciplinary approaches to combat violence through coordinated prevention and intervention, law enforcement, prosecution, and reintegration programs. Chambers said that Lynn's funding recipients have all had a proven track record for meeting all of those goals.

"Each partnership, their focus on their program in the organization, is to really provide levels of safety and really kind of deescalate issues of violence in the community, and that's done in a collaborative way," Chambers said. "If you look at the Lynn Parks and Recreation, they hold activities in the community, they also host several other engagements for teens. LYSOA, they have workers that go in directly into the community to help support young people. They do case management, similar to Catholic Charities, they too, have a staff team that does case management with young people."

Chambers added that LifeScene will likely sit down with the five organizations receiving funding to discuss which particular programs the collaboration could create.

Third Essex District Senator Brendan Crighton, in a written statement, said that the funding will have a profound positive effect on the community's youth. He thanked the Lynn Police Department and all the other agencies involved for the steps they take to mitigate street violence in the city.

"This funding will continue to have an impact on the youth in our community through the various programs and initiatives that it supports," Crighton said. "We are so grateful for the Lynn Police Department and their partners who do the tough work required to curb violence and change lives in our community."


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