DETROIT, MICH. –Gov. Rick Snyder and Mayor Dave Bing announced the launch and expansion of an innovative crime reduction model in the city of Detroit: the AmeriCorps Governor & Mayor Initiative Urban Safety Corps Program. A unique public-private partnership, the program utilizes 36 AmeriCorps members as catalysts to mobilize and recruit community volunteers to join them in improving public safety in targeted Detroit neighborhoods.
“AmeriCorps programs across the country provide powerful and low-cost solutions to serious community challenges,” Snyder said. “The Urban Safety Corps Program is among these programs and has already demonstrated much success with a cost-effective program model that is helping supplement a critical area of need in the Motor City: public safety. We are excited to launch this promising expansion as I know it will provide crucial support in our collective efforts to reinvent Detroit.”
Operated by Wayne State University, the Urban Safety Corps has already been at work in the Midtown and East Jefferson communities for three years. The innovative program utilizes the progressive COMPSTAT crime mapping program to evaluate crime “hot-spots” and implement targeted strategies to reduce blight, assaults, break-ins, drug dealing, and vehicle-related crimes. Contributing to the program’s success, which has seen a 44 percent reduction in crime in its targeted areas, is the joint collaboration between residents, neighborhood non-profits, faith-based organizations, law enforcement, existing neighborhood associations and block clubs to improve public safety.
Now at the launch of a new program year, Governor Snyder and Mayor Bing have joined together to expand the successful program into five new communities. These five areas were strategically selected in neighborhoods surrounding local schools where other state and local improvement initiatives are already underway. The new targeted communities will include the areas around East English Village, Clark Elementary, Bates, Bagley Elementary, Bethune, Gompers Elementary, Cody, Harms Elementary, Neinas Elementary, and Osborn.
“I am pleased to join the Governor in announcing the AmeriCorps Governor and Mayor Initiative for the Urban Safety Corps,” remarked Mayor Bing. “This initiative is an exciting partnership between the State of Michigan and the city of Detroit, demonstrating the joint commitment of Detroit and the state to restore and revitalize our great city.”
Also joining Snyder and Bing at the kick-off event was Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) CEO Wendy Spencer. As the federal agency on service and volunteerism, CNCS is responsible for administering all federal national service programs, including AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, the Volunteer Generation Fund, and other service efforts. In 2013, CNCS awarded the Urban Safety Corps Program a $378,871 AmeriCorps grant. Contingent on federal appropriations, this grant is renewable for two years for a total three-year investment of more than $1.1 million. CNCS will also make an estimated $505,200 in Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards available to AmeriCorps members who complete the program. These awards can be used to pay for college, vocational training, or repay student loans.
“For 20 years, AmeriCorps has been a powerful and proven solution to community needs across the nation,” said Spencer. “I commend Governor Snyder and Mayor Bing for their leadership in bringing more AmeriCorps resources to improve public safety in Detroit. They know what Governors and Mayors across the country know: that AmeriCorps works – it solves problems, strengthens communities, and expands opportunity for those who serve.”
In addition to federal funds from CNCS, the program is projected to generate an additional $722,000 in cash and in-kind contributions from outside sources, as required by all AmeriCorps grants. A large number of private funders have supported the Urban Safety Corps Program including: Wayne State University, the Skillman Foundation, Kresge Foundation, Henry Ford Health Systems, Jefferson East, Inc. and the Detroit Medical Center. Two funders in particular, the Skillman and Kresge Foundations, have provided significant contributions in 2013-2014 that has made the expansion possible.
For additional information about the Urban Safety Corps, visit: www.amusdetroit.org.
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