Baltimore Safe Streets program will adopt a new operating model to address the rising violence in the city. This time, public health resources will be involved. The Catholic Charities and LifeBridge’s Health’s Center for Hope will play a role in these efforts.
New Approach to Reduce Violence
Mayor Brandon Scott explained that reducing violence in Baltimore will start with knowing its root causes. They should be addressed before the issues could escalate to crimes. This is patterned from the Chicago-based Cure Violence program, as mentioned by WBAL-TV 11.
According to the same article, the city will start funding trauma-informed, community-centered, and evidence-based public health interventions. This will include community outreach, public education, conflict mediation, and violence interruption within a specific geographic area.
The mayor’s office disclosed that Catholic Charities and LifeBridge’s Health’s Center for Hope would run the program. They will be handling ten sites across the city. This will start on Oct. 1, 2022, and through Jan. 1, 2023.
These two facilities already offer services that adhere to the Community Violence Intervention Ecosystem. This includes hospital-based violence intervention programming, life coaching, and mediation.
Baltimore Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement (MONSE) Director Shantay Jackson said that commitment of the said organizations has already been proven throughout the years.
MONSE will provide technical assistance, training, and oversight to Safe Streets based on the news. It expands the program through different violence interventions in schools and hospitals. It also partners with the Health Alliance for Violence Intervention in providing training for all Baltimore-area hospital systems. These facilities treat patients with gunshot wounds.
MONSE also prioritizes stronger oversight and accountability of the program. It also ensures greater support, safety, training, and career pathways for its workers.
The Safe Streets program also partners with the Living Classrooms Foundation, Youth Advocate Programs, and Bon Secours Community Works. They provide workforce development and re-entry initiatives and programming.
New Administration at Safe Streets Sites
According to WMAR News, ten of the city’s Safe Streets sites will operate under Lifebridge Health’s Center for Hope and Catholic Charities. Six sites will be under the Center for Hope, and the remaining four will work under Catholic Charities.
As mentioned on the WBAL TV news, Lifebridge Health’s Center for Hope will handle the Belvedere and Woodbourne-McCabe sites. By October, Belair-Edison and McElderry Park sites will also be under its administration. Franklin Square and Park Heights sites will be added in January 2023.
On the other hand, the Sandtown-Winchester and Brooklyn sites operate under Catholic Charities. Penn North and Cherry Hill sites will also be under the organization.
Based on the same WBAL article, Lifebridge Health Executive Director Adam Rosenburg said that a health-centered approach to gun violence is important to stop it. He also emphasized that violence is a public healthcare issue. It has been one of the main health concerns in Baltimore City.
Aside from making the program better for the community, the changes at Safe Streets sites will also open more career pathways for its current workers.