Additional $12 Million Awarded to Expand Existing Family and Youth Development Programs
100 Organizations in Four Underserved Neighborhoods to Benefit From Investments
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the investment of $45.9 million to create and construct five “Youth Opportunity Hubs,” a first-of-its-kind effort to knit together community-based providers and build new physical spaces for young people in target Manhattan neighborhoods; and an additional $12 million investment to help existing organizations specializing in family and youth development expand their capacity and develop innovative new services.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is providing these grants through its Criminal Justice Investment Initiative (“CJII”), which District Attorney Vance created using criminal forfeiture funds obtained through the Office’s settlements with international banks for violating U.S. sanctions. Today’s awards focus on four Manhattan neighborhoods identified as areas in need of investment in CJII’s strategic plan: East Harlem, Central and West Harlem, Washington Heights, and the Lower East Side.
“The role of law enforcement in the 21st century is not merely to arrest and prosecute,” said District Attorney Vance. “We can deliver greater public safety and healthier communities if we prevent young people from coming into contact with the justice system in the first place. The ill-gotten gains seized in our financial crime prosecutions represent a windfall opportunity to prevent crime by investing in our youth. I am thrilled to invest these funds in 100 of New York’s most venerable youth and family service organizations in East Harlem, Central and West Harlem, Washington Heights, and the Lower East Side. By creating attractive spaces offering one-stop resources and serving thousands of additional young people and families, we can help build the strongest generation of New Yorkers yet.”
“I commend District Attorney Vance for making today’s significant investments,” said Michael Jacobson, Executive Director of the CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance. “Supporting families and young people is one of the most effective approaches to preventing crime, and encouraging collaboration between grantees and other community-based partner providers will strengthen these efforts further. The work these organizations will do with this funding will have a lasting effect on improving public safety in the city.”
“Our police and prosecutors are essential, but the best way to prevent crime is to invest in our communities and ensure all our young people have the support and opportunities they need,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “These grants are funding programs that support at-risk young people in neighborhoods throughout our borough. I commend District Attorney Vance and his office for recognizing that crime prevention starts early, and extends far beyond the precinct and the courtroom.”
Youth Opportunity Hubs
District Attorney Vance awarded $45.9 million for the creation of five “Youth Opportunity Hubs,” which will knit together community-based providers to provide coordinated services in new or updated physical spaces for young people in target neighborhoods. The Hubs will provide attractive social spaces and link neighborhood service providers to provide one-stop, comprehensive support for at-risk children, teens, and young adults in order to prevent them from becoming involved in the criminal justice system.
Recognizing that young people utilize supportive services at higher rates when such services are easily accessible, this “neighborhood Hub” approach coordinates family, community, school and city resources in attractive and convenient locations within underserved neighborhoods. Services and programming to be offered at the Hubs will include educational assistance, mentorship, employment training, trauma and substance abuse services, mental health counseling, housing and legal assistance, and recreational and arts programming, among many other services.
District Attorney Vance awarded multi-year grants totaling $45.9 million to the following five organizations to create Youth Opportunity Hubs, which are expected to serve more than 2,800 young New Yorkers each year:
“CCFY has long advocated for genuine community reinvestment in the neighborhoods most impacted by incarceration,” said Rev. Rubén Austria, Executive Director of Community Connections for Youth. “The Youth Opportunity Hubs represent real investment in young people before they are lost to the criminal justice system. CCFY is honored to partner with the Soul Saving Station and other Harlem locations to implement the Youth Opportunity Hub in Harlem."
“We are grateful to District Attorney Vance and his team for their commitment and vision on behalf of young adults across the City. We are truly honored and profoundly grateful to be selected as a grant recipient,” said David Garza, Executive Director of Henry Street Settlement. “The creative and powerful design of the initiative – which will allow us to partner with all of our sister settlement houses on the Lower East Side and a constellation of additional organizations – will bring more than 600 years of combined experience to help put underserved youth on the right path. These resources are transformative, and will enable us to identify and meet the needs of our young adults in a way that is unprecedented. The program provides a tightly woven safety net that will not only prevent our youth from falling through, but more importantly, lift them up by providing an opportunity to meaningfully connect them to the comprehensive services they need to succeed."
“At New York-Presbyterian, we are committed to helping our communities lead safer, healthier lives,” said David Alge, Senior Vice President, Community & Population Health at NewYork-Presbyterian. “We are pleased to partner with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to help implement this novel crime prevention initiative by offering much needed medical and social support resources to our young community members most in need.”
“Union Settlement has been serving the East Harlem community since 1895, and we are honored to be chosen to oversee the East Harlem Youth Opportunity Hub,” said David Nocenti, Executive Director of Union Settlement. “We have a broad coalition of community partners who will be working together to help youth overcome the obstacles they face, and set them on a path to success. I want to thank District Attorney Vance for his leadership and vision, and for clearly understanding that real progress requires a collaborative multi-year approach. We are grateful for the opportunity to lead the East Harlem hub, and look forward to getting started and having a long-term positive impact on the youth we serve, their families, and the entire community.”
“Today is a great day for Manhattan’s young people who need, and deserve, opportunities to achieve their full potential. The Door is delighted to be awarded the Manhattan District Attorney’s Criminal Justice Investment Initiative Youth Opportunity Hub,” said Julie L. Shapiro, Executive Director of The Door. “The Door, a nationally recognized youth development program, and our eleven partners (Arms Acres, Avenues for Justice, Carnegie Hall, CASES, Fresh Youth Initiatives, The New York Foundling, Per Scholas, Project Renewal, Sheltering Arms, University Settlement, and The Whitney) will engage with over 1,500 youth from the Lower East Side, Harlem, and Washington Heights to provide the type of comprehensive, integrated programs and opportunities we have offered to New York City’s young people during the past 45 years.”
Family and Youth Development
District Attorney Vance also awarded $12 million in grants to existing community-based service providers and organizations specializing in family and youth development to expand their capacity and develop innovative programming. Specifically, the Office is funding “two-generation” programming models that provide holistic support to at-risk young people and their families. Numerous studies have concluded that family dynamics, education, and mental health, among other areas, influence justice system involvement. Early attempts to support healthy family development can prevent subsequent child and family risk factors – including academic problems, school dropout, antisocial behavior, and justice system contact – and reduce recidivism.
District Attorney Vance awarded multi-year grants to the following organizations, which expect to serve more than 4,700 families each year:
“Our kids need to know that we all have their backs, that we are here to celebrate their achievements, to honor their efforts, to miss them when they are absent, and to help them get back up when they fall,” said Gretchen Buchenholz, Executive Director of Association to Benefit Children. “We are so honored to be working with Cyrus Vance and the District Attorney’s Office so that our kids stay engaged and positive, so that the only time they might come to the attention of the DA is when they apply for an internship or a job, or ask to learn more about the office as part of research they are conducting for a school paper. But if they do come into contact with the DA’s office for other reasons, we also want them to know we are a phone call away, and we are committed to offering them a pathway back home.”
“The Eagle Academy Foundation is honored by the incredible support from District Attorney Cy Vance - someone who has been a visionary on programs that have a huge impact on the quality of life for communities, especially in distressed areas,” said David Banks, President of the Eagle Academy Foundation for Young Men. “We’re thrilled to partner with DA Vance to educate and mentor boys of color who will be leaders of tomorrow.”
“District Attorney Cy Vance understands that strong families build strong and safe communities,” said Alan van Capelle, President & CEO of Educational Alliance. “This historic level of funding for neighborhood-based organizations will have a transformational impact on the lives of countless families and every person in Manhattan will benefit from it. The grants announced today are a roadmap for every other city in the nation looking to strengthen communities and to reduce crime. On behalf of the 50,000 New Yorkers we serve each year, Educational Alliance is proud to have received a $1.3 million grant to support our nationally recognized two-generation approach to early childhood education. This grant represents one of the largest investments in the nation to support this two-generation education model and we are proud to call DA Vance our partner in this work.”
“Too many children are exposed to violence and abuse, and its effects on children, families and communities can be devastating and long-lasting,” said Joe Torre, co-founder and Chairman of the Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation. “We want to thank District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. and the Criminal Justice Investment Initiative for this generous grant, which we will put to use by opening our anti-violence Margaret’s Place program in two Washington Heights schools, providing a safe space for youth impacted by violence, and partnering with the community to offer our trauma-informed services to entire families.”
“With this grant, The Legal Aid Society’s Education Law Project and Mt. Sinai St. Luke’s Child and Family Institute (CFI), through the Mount Sinai Medical Legal Partnership, can expand advocacy efforts on behalf of low-income students to ensure they have the necessary tools for educational success,” said Susan Horwitz of The Legal Aid Society’s Education Law Project. “Funding will support a variety of services including legal screenings for families, Know Your Rights sessions, professional development for CFI staff, and advocacy for support and services in the classroom. These activities will have the positive result of keeping children in school, out of the criminal justice system, and focused on achieving positive life outcomes. The Legal Aid Society lauds Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance for recognizing this crucial medical-legal partnership and its impact serving students and families in schools around New York City.”
“The Osborne Association is honored to partner with the Harlem Restoration Project to launch FamilyWorks Harlem designed to address the most serious risks faced by children and families affected by parental incarceration,” said Osborne Association President and CEO Elizabeth Gaynes. “We thank District Attorney Vance for this opportunity to work in such a vibrant and resilient community.”
“Every year, millions of children witness the horror of domestic violence in their homes. The damage is incalculable. These traumatic experiences often result in cognitive and emotional problems that further stress family relationships and lead to high risk or criminal behavior,” said Judge Judy Harris Kluger, Executive Director of Sanctuary for Families. “Thanks to the Manhattan District Attorney’s generous grant, Sanctuary for Families, working in partnership with STEPS to End Family Violence, will launch the FamilySafe Project expanding on our existing clinical services that strengthen relationships between parents who suffer domestic abuse and the children who witness it. By using an evidence-based and family attachment-focused approach, we hope to reduce the trauma in children, improve parents’ confidence and optimism, and break the intergenerational cycle of violence for the families we serve.”
“University Settlement is honored to be a recipient of one and a partner in two groundbreaking grants awarded by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office – as a Family and Youth Development grantee, and as a partner in The Door’s Youth Opportunity Hub and the Lower East Side Settlement House Hub,” said Melissa Aase, Executive Director of University Settlement. “We’ve known since our founding 131 years ago that the kind of preventive, holistic, multi-generational, and collaborative programs that will be funded by these extraordinary and necessary investments will make a difference in the lives of people and communities who need our support the most.”
CJII Research and Consultation Process
Today’s awards follow an open-solicitation, Request for Proposals and review process led by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and facilitated by the CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance (ISLG), CJII’s technical assistance provider. Representatives from New York City agencies – including the Department of Education, Department of Youth and Community Development, Administration for Children’s Services, and the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development – as well as other organizations, including Hunter College, participated in the review committee and provided expert feedback.
The CJII plan and investments are the result of an extensive process incorporating research, data analysis, and outreach to community leaders and stakeholders conducted by CUNY ISLG. As the technical assistance provider, ISLG analyzed research in areas affecting public safety in New York City, including systemic factors at the neighborhood level that have an impact on crime, and data from a number of agencies involved in the criminal justice system. In addition, ISLG conducted extensive interviews with more than 250 experts in the criminal justice community and related fields, including clinical practitioners; leaders from philanthropic, non-profit, and grassroots organizations; representatives of local, state, and federal government agencies; academics; and elected officials. Following this process, ISLG worked with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to develop a comprehensive set of investments that, together, will have a significant, lasting impact on public safety and justice reform in New York City. ISLG will provide program oversight and performance measurement to grantees selected under CJII.
Previously Announced Investments
In September 2016, District Attorney Vance announced funding to: divert low-level offenders from the justice system, develop social enterprises to employ formerly incarcerated and at-risk New Yorkers, and support youth aging out of the foster care system. In June 2016, District Attorney Vance announced funding to: expand the Project Reset diversion program to serve additional qualifying teenagers ($600,000); increase access to services for victims of crime ($11.4 million); and develop community navigators to connect individuals to the resources and services they need to prevent future crime and re-victimization ($1.6 million).
These funding opportunities follow other recent, transformative investments by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, including: $7.5 million to pay for college programming at New York State prisons; $90 million to equip the NYPD with tablets, handheld devices, and mobile databases for every police officer and patrol car; $101 million for critical NYCHA security upgrades, including cameras, lighting, and keyless access; $38 million to help end the national backlog of untested rape kits; $40 million towards the City’s comprehensive mental health initiatives, including $14 million for supervised release for eligible defendants pre-trial; $25 million to form the cross-border, cross-sector, not-for-profit Global Cyber Alliance; and $7.5 million to expand Saturday Night Lights, the District Attorney’s Office’s signature youth violence prevention initiative operating in 14 locations across Manhattan.
Additional funding opportunities that support efforts to prevent crime, improve approaches to working with victims of crime, reduce unnecessary incarceration, and accelerate reform in the criminal justice system will be announced in the coming months.