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Red Deer receives funding to prevent gun, gang violence

Red Deer Advocate - 9/13/2022

The City of Red Deer is receiving $2.1 million through the Building Safer Communities Fund over the next four years to support prevention and intervention efforts for youths entering gun and/or gang violence.

Public Safety Canada recently notified the city's Safe and Healthy Communities department it was eligible to receive this funding. The department worked with Public Safety Canada on a draft year-one plan to help determine local priorities, in preparation for project implementation in grant years 2-4, starting April 1, 2023.

With this revenue opportunity being presented mid-city budget year, administration sought city council's approval for a budget adjustment to receive and spend the additional grant dollars. Council gave its approval during Monday's regular meeting.

"It's quite a great opportunity," Safe and Health Communities manager Kristin Walsh told council.

Year one of the plan will focus on the development of a plan, years two and three will focus on the plan's implementation, and the fourth year will be about evaluation, Walsh explained

Year 1 (2022-23) $213,217.61

Year 2 (2023-24) $746,261.64

Year 3 (2024-25) $746,261.64

Year 4 (2025-26) $426,435.22

During the first year, the city will secure at least one external consultant to support project activity, including collecting data and conducting focused community consultations.

A potential request for a proposal to select agencies to carry out the activities and strategies identified for gun and gang violence prevention and intervention would be developed in the first year as well. It is envisioned that the community, through other City departments, systems' players and third-party service providers will play the leading roles in the project's strategies and implementation.

Ryan Veldkamp, Safe and Health Communities department manager, said 120 communities across Canada received funding. Municipalities were selected based on firearms and gang-related crime statistics.

The objective of the Building Safer Communities Fund is to support Municipalities and Indigenous governments in their efforts to address gun and gang prevalence by providing a determined funding allocation to put in place community led projects to prevent gun and gang violence, and address knowledge gaps concerning the impacts of interventions in gun and gang violence.