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City of San Diego Secures $3.65 Million Grant for Gang and Gun Violence Prevention Program


September 13, 2022


SAN DIEGO, CA San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria today announced that the City of San Diego was awarded a $3.65 million California Violence Intervention and Prevention (CalVIP) grant to implement the Peacemaker Project, a program that aims to interrupt cycles of violence among youth.

Building on existing community-based violence-interruption efforts led by Pastor Jesus Sandoval, the executive director of the Citys Commission on Gang Prevention and Intervention, the proposed Peacemaker Project would enable City staff, volunteers and community-based organizations to quickly mobilize and deploy de-escalation tactics in the aftermath of violence to prevent retaliatory violence. This strategy is being used effectively now but is limited by a lack of funding and will be expanded through the CalVIP grant.

The funding also will enable the Peacemaker Project to apply the wraparound model of care to address gang-related youth violence. The model helps young people and their families connect to resources that will improve their well-being and discourage youth from gang activity. Services can include trauma & behavioral health screenings and services; mentoring; employment assistance; education; parenting classes; and financial crisis stabilization.

Im proud of what our Commission on Gang Prevention and Intervention has achieved through their work in the community, and this funding will help take it to the next level, Mayor Todd Gloria said. This model of supporting San Diegos young people and giving them alternatives to violence and by providing so many resources for communities to respond when violence occurs, this program can help address generational trauma and cultivate peace in our neighborhoods.

The Peacemaker Project will primarily be implemented by six partner organizations that have a solid track record and strong working relationship with the Gang Commission on community-led violence intervention. These partners include:

  • Union of Pan Asian Communities (UPAC) to provide health and human services focused on improving the overall well-being of underserved diverse populations.
  • Community Wraparound, a gang prevention, positive youth development, and community safety initiative that offers an alternative to gang life and promotes success through involvement with family, school, work, and community.
  • Open Heart Leaders, an African American woman-led organization focused on mental health and education.
  • Paving Great Futures, which provides programs, events, and overall mentorship, provide a culture of positive guidance and growth.
  • Mothers with a Message, a group of women who have lost children to violence who share their stories of loss in hopes that others might learn from it.
  • San Ysidro Health Center, which provides accessible and affordable health care services, including behavioral health services.

The Peacemaker Projects violence prevention and intervention services are grounded in trauma-informed care, culturally competent and aligned with restorative justice principles. During the 30-month intervention, the program will serve at least 300 youth and young adults as well as their close family and friends, ultimately reaching well over 1,000 San Diegans in all.

This is what we have been waiting for, for many years, said Pastor Sandoval. Finally, the stars have aligned for us to receive this funding, enabling us to display a truly collaborative model in the City Of San Diego to reach our youth, moving them from trauma to healing and restoration using a proven wraparound model.

Program participants will be identified and selected from three different sources: youth-involved violent incident reports, including from law enforcement, community members and the media; referrals from County Probation; and requests from families for post-incarceration re-entry support.

CalVIP grants provides funding for cities and community-based organizations with the goal of reducing violence. Prior to the pandemic-fueled increase in violence that began in 2020, CalVIP-supported programs helped Californias gun homicide rate fall to the lowest rate since 1970.

Communities that received CalVIP grants during the 2018 grant cycle saw gun homicides decreased nearly 3 times more than those that did not receive CalVIP support.