PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (WHTM) — Governor Tom Wolf was in Philadelphia with Pa. lawmakers on Thursday to discuss the availability of $24 million in state funding to help address community violence.

“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,” Gov. 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 Violence Intervention and Prevention (VIP) funding stems from the Pa. Commission on Crime and Delinquency helps support intervention and prevention efforts to curb gun and group violence with high rates of crime.

“Stemming the violence in our neighborhoods requires coordination and determination at every level, but most importantly in our neighborhoods. By focusing at ground level, funding will be able to hit the streets quickly and reach people one by one,” Pa. Senator Vincent Hughes said. “Our caucus has helped make these resources available and I encourage community organizations and on-the-ground leaders to apply for these funds.”

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Funding is available to eligible community-based organizations, higher education institutions, municipalities, district attorneys and counties, with grants ranging from maximum budgets of $50,000 to $2,000,000 for projects spanning up to two years.

“Gun violence has been labeled a public health crisis, some would say a public health emergency, and as such we need to coordinate resources and treat it as such,” Pa. Representative Donna Bullock said. “Last week there was an after-school shooting just mere steps from my 10-year-old son’s school, and an early morning shooting in the schoolyard of the elementary school near my home. As a member of the Governor’s School Safety and Security Committee, I am committed to getting state resources out to those on the frontlines of this public health crisis quickly and efficiently.”

Gov. Wolf signed an Executive Order in 2019 to form the Office of Gun Violence Prevention and a Special Council on Gun Violence within the Pa. Commission on Crime and Delinquency. He also formed a Division of Violence Prevention through the Dept. of Health.

More information on applying and criteria is available on PCCD’s website.