MILWAUKEE — Gov. Tony Evers announced Wednesday a $45 million investment in violence prevention programming statewide.
The governor made this announcement along with Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul and several anti-violence stakeholders at the COA Goldin Center near 22nd and Burleigh.
The money will come from the American Rescue Plan Act. Gov. Evers says $25 million will go directly to violence prevention programming—including $8 million for the City of Milwaukee Office of Violence Prevention and $6.6 million for the Medical College of Wisconsin's violence prevention program, which will help cities in the state launch their initiatives.
Arnitta Holliman, the director of the Office of Violence Prevention, said the funding will go towards domestic violence and youth development programming.
The other $20 million will go to victims' services.
"Violence can be prevented," Gov. Evers said. "We have to focus on the root causes and invest in interventions and community-based solutions."
"There are people who have suffered trauma because of crimes, there are people who need services to help them recover from crimes," Kaul said. "But when we provide services to victims, we also support safer communities."
Reggie Moore is the Director for Violence Prevention Policy and Engagement at the Medical College of Wisconsin. He says the money for victims' services will really make a difference in both emotional and economic support.
"Families often feel lost in terms of being able to access crime victim compensation funding, to cover burial costs," Moore said. "If someone is injured where they're paralyzed, they have to make modifications to their house, they have to make modifications to their vehicle."
According to the Milwaukee Homicide Review Commission, there have been 146 victims of homicide and 682 non-fatal shooting victims so far in 2021.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett released the following statement:
“Governor Evers support for violence prevention work – here in Milwaukee and around the state – will help make our communities safer. The Governor shares our belief that reducing violence is much more than a law enforcement matter."
“The support for our Office of Violence Prevention arrives at an important time as gun violence has increased here in Milwaukee. The additional resources will complement the work already underway, adding to the team that is actively promoting peace before violence occurs."
“I thank the Governor for his violence prevention investments here.”
The Milwaukee Police Department said in a statement Thursday they support the governor's effort.
"The Milwaukee Police Department applauds the Governor’s efforts to dedicate $8 million of those funds toward the City of Milwaukee’s Office of Violence Prevention. MPD is grateful for our ongoing and strong partnership with OVP," according to MPD.