MOUNT VERNON – At the Mount Vernon Boys and Girls Club Monday, Governor Kathy Hochul announced $6.2 million in grants to expand community and hospital-based gun violence intervention programs in communities across the state, including Newburgh, Poughkeepsie and Mount Vernon. Hochul also announced $100,000 in new grants to Family Services of Westchester to expand their youth engagement and anti-violence programming in Westchester.
The announcement comes just days after a shooting on Poughkeepsie High School property and a shooting in Newburgh that wounded four teens. “The unfortunate reality is that we’re still seeing the spectre of gun violence in communities across the nation,” Hochul said. “This is a wake-up call, and with today’s announcement, I’m proud to have committed more than $30 million in grants to fight gun violence.”
Hochul said the funds will enhance street outreach programs in targeted areas that have seen an uptick in the cycle of gun violence, including Newburgh and Poughkeepsie in the Hudson Valley.
The SNUG (‘guns’ spelled backward) programs in Newburgh, Mount Vernon, and Poughkeepsie conduct street outreach and violence interrupter programs that address gun violence as a public health issue by identifying the source, interrupting its transmission, and treating it by engaging individuals and communities to change community norms about violence.
The Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) will administer the grants to hospital-based programs and the state’s 12 SNUG Street Outreach programs. The state’s SNUG Street Outreach programs including those in Mount Vernon, Newburgh, and Poughkeepsie are slated to received funding for additional staff members.
A study by the Rochester Institute of Technology evaluated the effectiveness of SNUG programs throughout the state and produced mixed results. The study was prepared for DCJS and one finding recommended that SNUG program managers communicate more effectively with local law enforcement. SNUG officials have repeatedly claimed that they prevent shootings from occurring. Those statements are unverifiable and the information is not currently shared with police. The full report can be read HERE.