Under legislation approved by state lawmakers in May, nonprofits working to deter crime in seven Missouri communities can now apply for state funds – totaling up to $ 500,000 – to support their work.
Applications are accepted until October 29.
A law signed by Governor Mike Parson in June created the Economic Distress Areas Fund subsidy program. The state seeks to support organizations that can create new opportunities to tackle the root causes of crime, said legislative sponsor of the law, Senator Karla May, D-St. Louis.
âEducation and employment – this is the best way to reduce crime,â May said.
But just as important as services, organizations need to be able to go to neighborhoods and meet people where they are, she said.
âWe have to be more intentional in reaching people,â May said. âWe just have to go knocking on doors. Target three blocks, lock down those three blocks, and provide them with the resources you have in your nonprofit. Go get them. “
Six of the seven communities described in the act are in the St. Louis area: Riverview, Pagedale, City of St. Louis, Hillsdale, Vinita Park and Moline Acres. The New Madrid, in southeast Missouri, is also included.
These cities have a homicide rate of at least seven times the national average according to the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting System, a poverty rate above 20%, and a school district with at least 80% of the population. students eligible for a free or reduced lunch.
The Missouri Department of Public Safety administers the grants. Organizations can apply for funding to pay for staff, travel, training, or to purchase equipment or supplies.
The six-month grants are scheduled to begin Nov. 15, and May said she hopes the impact will be seen immediately. She plans to establish an annual fundraiser to increase the fund.
âI hope,â she said, âthat we can really make an impact on the community by providing these services that connect people to resources.