Governor Gavin Newsom announced a record $156 million in gun violence prevention grants provided as part of the California Violence Intervention and Prevention Grant Program (CalVIP).
The funding will support 79 cities and nonprofit organizations that are implementing anti-violence programs suited to the unique needs of their local communities.
“While gridlock and division block progress on the national stage, California is leading the way with commonsense gun safety laws and prevention programs like CalVIP that save lives,” Newsom said. “We’re doubling down on these successful measures – tested and proven in California every day – as part of an all-of-the-above approach to making our communities safer and ending the tragic cycle of violence playing out in schools, churches, workplaces and public spaces across the country.”
The programs selected for funding tackle gun violence by concentrating on prevention efforts. For example, an analysis found that in Oakland, less than 1 percent of the city’s population was responsible for the majority of homicides. Based on this analysis, Oakland implemented a ceasefire strategy which focused on deterrence and resulted in a “noteworthy citywide reduction of gun homicide” between 2010 and 2017.
The grants announced were awarded by the Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) and will go to programs in communities that are disproportionately impacted by violence. CalVIP intervention programs are specifically selected to address populations that are most at risk of perpetrating violence and those most likely to be victimized.
“Violence reduction is as important to this Administration as it is to all Californians,” said Board Chair Linda Penner. “The innovative programs supported through this unprecedented funding are evidence-based, and help to deter criminal behavior through interventions, which provide participants with the tools to resolve conflicts peacefully instead of turning to violence.”
California’s gun safety policies save lives and provide a national model for other states to follow. According to the Giffords Law Center, in 2021, California was ranked as the top state in the nation for gun safety. As California strengthened its gun laws, the state saw a 37 percent lower gun death rate than the national average. Meanwhile, other states such as Florida and Texas, with lax gun regulations, saw double-digit increases in the rate of gun deaths. As a result of the actions taken by California, the state has cut its gun death rate in half and Californians are 25 percent less likely to die in a mass shooting compared to citizens of other states.
“The CalVIP program funds the work of heroes – frontline violence interrupters who put themselves in harm’s way, protect and heal survivors, and stop shootings before they ever happen,” said Ari Freilich, State Policy Director at Giffords Law Center. “Last year, Governor Newsom made historic new investments in CalVIP and thanks to his efforts, dozens of programs across the state will soon be able to expand their work to reach and heal more survivors, stop more retaliations, train the next generation of violence intervention professionals, and keep more families whole and safe and free from violence. Today, we celebrate California’s investment in this vital work, and thank Governor Newsom and leaders in the Legislature who fought to secure these historic investments in community safety that works.”
The funding is the fourth round of CalVIP funding distributed by the Board. Governor Newsom made a record $209 million in funding available as part of his California Comeback Plan. In previous years the grant program, codified as the Break the Cycle of Violence Act, has been funded at $9 million annually. The grants provide funding for three years and run from July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2025. A full list of awardees can be found on the CalVIP website.
Program highlights include the following:
- The City of Fresno will offer a camp in the Sierra to young people most at risk of committing violence. It will also use a portion of its funding to open sports fields and recreation centers at night for tournaments and car shows.
- The City of Oakland will conduct outreach, coaching and counseling for families with children most at risk of committing violence to help all members learn to problem solve and communicate.
- The Anti-Recidivism Coalition will begin providing services to youth from Sacramento and Los Angeles while they are housed in juvenile facilities and provide intensive case management. They will also provide a warm handoff including housing, employment and trauma-informed services.
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County and the Inland Empire will provide youth with two years of mentorships with community-based volunteers, working with families to access support including education, mental health services and emotional support.
Approximately $53 million of the total $209 million that was available in CalVIP grant money remains unclaimed. BSCC will immediately re-release the Request for Proposals to expedite the awarding of the remaining funds.