Two local non-profits were selected to operate two additional Cure Violence locations in the City of St. Louis. The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis will operate a site within the Walnut Park neighborhood, and Employment Connection will operate a site within the Dutchtown neighborhood. Both are scheduled to be active by August 1.
The city previously allocated $7 million to implement the Cure Violence model in three different sites over three years
"I am gratified that the city is ready to move forward with Cure Violence in these two additional neighborhoods, completing the three sites selected as part of our initial plan," said Comptroller Darlene Green. "The City of St. Louis is in the midst of a continuing crisis of violence. Tragically, we have seen an increase in homicides this year, and it is crucial that work get underway to interrupt the cycle of violence."
Green said she sent a letter to Mayor Lyda Krewson on July 9, requesting an urgent meeting of the selection committee, to which Krewson agreed and moved up the meeting of the selection committee to July 14 in advance of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment’s July meeting.
Dr. Fredrick L. Echols, acting director of Health for the City of St. Louis, said the health department will work with the new vendors “to ensure the programs maintain the fidelity of the Cure Violence model and reduce gun violence in these neighborhoods.”
Michael McMillan, president and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, said that James Clark will lead their effort, which will “bring a concentrated focus of resources from all the 50 programs that we conduct in these areas.”
Employment Connection’s Cure Violence site in the Wells-Goodfellow and Hamilton Heights neighborhoods has been operational since June 1 and is already having a positive impact, according to Sal F. Martinez, chief executive officer of Employment Connection.
“We have recruited and engaged a talented team of individuals who have been working diligently to build relationships with high-risk individuals and stakeholders in these communities, and they have been warmly received,” Martinez said.
“Our team has already responded to multiple crime scenes where gun violence has occurred and has also been providing conflict mediation and de-escalation services to individuals who were planning to use firearms to settle disputes.”
He said they also are connecting people in these neighborhoods to job training and placement, behavioral health counseling, and housing/utility assistance.
Cure Violence Global is guided by clear understandings that violence is a health issue, that individuals and communities can change for the better, that community partners and strategic partnerships are keys to success, and that rigorous, scientific, professional ways of working are essential for effectiveness.
The amounts of each of the new contracts are not to exceed $750,000 and will both be in effect through July 31, 2021.