$1 million DOJ community grant awarded to Indy’s east side

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The City of Indianapolis has received another grant from the Department of Justice aimed at reducing violent crime. Announced by Mayor Joe Hogsett and Indiana Southern District U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler on Wednesday, the Community Based Crime Reduction grant is designed to assist in efforts to eliminate gun violence and crime on Indianapolis’ east side.

Community members gathered under a tent pitched in the abandoned Sherman Park and cheered despite the rainy weather, applauding when Hogsett announced that the nearly $1 million grant will be used to target root causes of crime in their neighborhood.

The award, which Hogsett described as a “giant shot in the arm,” comes a key time for the area. The money will target the Indy East Promise area and the John Boner Neighborhood Centers, including Sherman Park, 10th and Rural and Englewood Village.

“In recent years, we have witnessed a lot of development on the Eastside, and that comes down to the efforts of the people who live here,” Hogsett said. “Residents of the Eastside believe in their community, and they are working alongside the City of Indianapolis and police to find out how best we can, together, reverse trends on violence and crime.”

Over the course of the next three years, the grant will be used to address key barriers in the area, including poverty, family economic instability, substance abuse, mental illness and a decaying environment. The coordinated efforts will also include a focus on targeted enforcement, community policing and wraparound social service programs.

Work with the grant money begins immediately and continues through September 2021. Year one will include an intensive neighborhood planning process to develop community-oriented revitalization strategies that improve quality of life for residents and reduce crime in the area, which is located entirely within the 46201 area code. Years two and three will focus on the implementation of that plan, pending its approval by the DOJ.

Eastside resident Chris Staab has lived in the community for 30 years and said the grant will be a great tool that they intend to use to better their neighborhood.

“This is a huge deal for us. I’m thrilled to death to see how all of this is coming together,” Staab said. “Now the hard work is going to come in the next three years to see what we can do with this.”

Staab said the community can no longer afford to rely solely on the IMPD and city agencies to target the issue of crime and gun violence.

“The community has got to step up and take charge of their neighborhoods, or we’ll lose it,” Staab said. “This is a great way that we can take that data and then go back and actually talk to neighbors, find out what their needs are and how we can find ways to reduce the violence.”

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