Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Lowell to receive $569G grant to battle gang violence

LOWELL -- The city will receive a $569,000 grant to combat gang violence in the next year, an increase of 10 percent over this year's funding, the city's Statehouse delegation announced Monday.

The funding jolt comes from the state's Shannon Grant program, which provides money to help communities support multidisciplinary approaches to reducing gang-related violence. The state support comes as the city has faced a series of shootings the last several months.

State Rep. Tom Golden, a Lowell Democrat, said a team effort from the city's Statehouse delegation helped the city secure the increase in the Shannon Grant funding.

"This is great news," said Golden, who said the funding is the highest amount the city has received in recent years. "We need to give all the resources we can to the people that protect us on a daily basis."

The Lowell Police Department determines how to distribute the funds. In the past, the department has utilized the grant to put extra officers on the streets during peak hours when gang activity could be a problem.

The city also provides the funding to local organizations who work with troubled youth to keep them out of gangs and gang-related activity.

The money is disbursed by the state's Executive Office of Public Safety and Security and $7 million will be allocated statewide in the coming year.

The $569,000 the city will receive is an increase from the $518,000 allocated from the state last year. The grant will start in January and last through the calendar year.

Lowell Police Superintendent William Taylor called the boost in Shannon Grant funding "wonderful news" for the city and the Police Department.

"The entire Statehouse delegation should be commended for the extra funding the city will receive, and we are indebted to them for their efforts," Taylor said.

Police officials will sit down in the coming weeks to determine how the funding will be allocated, but Taylor said he suspects the city's approach will be similar to the use of funds in previous years, including overtime for patrols in the areas affected by gang-related issues.

Providing the funding to organizations such as the United Teen Equality Center, known as UTEC, and the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell to keep youth off the streets and out of gangs will also continue, said Taylor.

UTEC uses the Shannon Grant funds to pay for streetworkers who try to build relationships with at-risk or gang-involved young people, said Geoff Foster, UTEC's associate director of political action.

The legislators also said they are pleased the grant funding will help them continue to deliver on their promise to the City Council that they would try to secure more funding to help with public safety.

Earlier this fall, the Statehouse delegation announced the city received $367,000 in Massachusetts Municipal Police Services Staffing Grant funding. It was an increase from the prior year's funding of $99,832.

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