The Jersey City Medical Center is one of nine facilities included in a $10 million state allocation of federal funds for hospital-based violence intervention programs.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“Earlier this year, I signed my comprehensive Gun Safety 3.0 package, which strengthened gun laws across our state, bringing us one step closer to a stronger, fairer, and safer New Jersey. Today’s continued funding of the Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Program is another step toward that reality,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement.
“I am proud of the work that this Administration has done thus far and am committed to continuing to address the gun violence epidemic our State is facing.”
In January 2020, the Murphy administration and the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office awarded $20 million in federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) dollars to fund nine HVIPs across New Jersey to reach victims of gun violence and others touched by violence at the time of crisis.
These programs are considered by experts and practitioners to be one of the crucial strategies for violence intervention and prevention services and established New Jersey as a national leader in stemming gun violence.
A primary goal of the HVIP is to link hospitals with community-based organizations that are already working hard to assist victims and prevent the spread of violence.
By partnering with community organizations to provide services to victims and families in hospitals following a shooting, the program has shown an ability to reduce the cycle of gun violence when retaliation is most likely to occur and spread.
When the $20 million in competitive federal VOCA funding was announced, selected hospitals received two years of HVIP funding, some of which the hospitals sub-awarded to community-based providers in their areas to help directly deliver services to those impacted by gun violence.
At the end of the two-year grant period, the Attorney General’s Office made available a third year of VOCA funding in the amount of $10.3 million.
“Make no mistake – this investment in our HVIP initiative will save lives. Thanks to the Governor’s leadership, New Jersey will continue its groundbreaking efforts in violence intervention programming by disrupting cycles of violence before they start,” added Acting Attorney General Matthew Platkin.
“I applaud the challenging, but essential, work of our hospital and community partners and will continue to champion these programs as Attorney General.”
Currently, CBVI grants directly fund more than 20 community organizations in 15 municipalities covering every region of the state, supporting intervention strategies that help communities reduce homicides and shootings by developing healing relationships among the groups and individuals who are at the center of gun violence.
During this time, the AG’s Office learned of an upcoming decrease in federal VOCA funds that would also support HVIPs and worked with the Murphy Administration to identify alternative sources of funding.
The federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds will provide this alternative funding source for the HVIP program for at least another 12 months after the VOCA funds are expended. Further details on this competitive program will be made available in the upcoming months.
“As a gun violence survivor, I know the importance of the work. From a personal standpoint and a professional standpoint, I know that with this investment we can save more lives and do more healing,” added Jersey City Anti-Violence Coalition Movement Executive Director Pamela Johnson.
The initial $20 million VOCA investment, along with the additional third year of VOCA funding in HVIP grants were awarded to the following hospitals as well.
• Center for Family Services, Camden
• Trinitas Health Foundation, Elizabeth
• AtlantiCare Atlantic City
• Capital Health, Trenton
• Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, New Brunswick
• University Hospital, Newark
• Jersey Shore University Medical Center/Hackensack Meridian, Neptune City
• St. Joseph’s Health, Paterson