Office for Safe & Healthy Neighborhoods Director outlines whole-of-government approach to Metro Council
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (May 17, 2021) – Dr. Monique Williams, director of the city’s Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods (OSHN), spoke today to Metro Council, outlining many of the ways that Mayor Greg Fischer’s FY22 budget would enhance the Department’s role in helping create a safer Louisville.
Mayor Fischer’s proposed FY22 budget would invest $4.5 million in OSHN to advance his whole-of-government approach to violence reduction. This investment includes expansion of the Pivot to Peace initiative – evidence-based gun violence reduction strategies, including the existing hospital-based partnership, as well as an outreach system, clergy response team, and supports for the Gun Violence Intervention program. With the hospital-based initiative alone, the city has reduced injury recidivism among participants by 95 percent.
“Mayor Fischer’s proposed FY22 budget expands strategies for violence prevention and intervention,” Dr. Williams said. “And it grows critical community outreach efforts and support networks, based on targeted areas for the city.”
A critical component, she said, involves community-based intervention through evidence-based models that have shown success at disrupting cycles of violence, victimization and retaliation. That includes strategic outreach, intensive case management – with peer support and mentorship, behavioral therapy and counseling, job training and skills building, conflict mediation, relocation away from dangerous situations – as well as a coordinated crisis response.
“All of these approaches, when adequately resourced and implemented with fidelity, have proven to significantly reduce rates of both fatal and non-fatal gun violence,” Dr. Williams said. “Louisville needs an intervention outreach and support system that focuses on community-based case management and crisis response. Successful intervention requires being able to identify, connect and support – and we only do that through a coordinated system.”
Dr. Williams said the Mayor’s budget also would support a prevention strategy that mobilizes communities for violence prevention through capacity building, education, advocacy, and action. That would include using a Community Health Development approach to provide training and technical assistance to individuals and organizations that would act as Violence Prevention Ambassadors, implementing collaborative, community-specific frameworks for community violence prevention.
Dr. Williams added that the city must heed the voices of its youth, who were actively engaged on issues of violence this past year, specifically addressing structural violence and advocating for policy changes necessary for reducing violence in our city. “This is our goal, as a city,” she said, “and we must make the investments necessary to reach that goal.”