The city of Syracuse will apply for $1.5 million from the federal government to help fund violence intervention.

Lawmakers Tuesday approved a proposal from City Hall to apply for one of the three-year grants.

The United States Department of Justice will award six to eight grants to cities in the fall, Syracuse Deputy Mayor Sharon Owens said.

Owens is also putting together a plan to spend another $1 million in federal stimulus money on violence intervention, she said.

“The majority of this is going to go to … ‘Can I get some more people on the ground?'” Owens said.

The city has set aside significant resources for violence prevention in recent months. Earlier this year, Mayor Ben Walsh created the Mayor’s Office to Reduce Gun Violence. The city hired a consultant with federal stimulus money to assess the city’s violence prevention efforts.

Syracuse experienced the most gun homicides in its history in 2020 and 2021. Twenty-five people were shot to death in each of those years.

The head of the new office, Lateef Johnson-Kinsey, held a meeting last week with groups who work to stem violence.

The city’s application combined with Owens’ $1 million-plan represents some of the biggest public investment in these groups and in efforts to reduce gun violence in the city’s history.

Representatives from the groups said knowing money might be available makes it easier to work with others who they’d previously been competing with for funding.

“If we’re able to have control over funding to be able to support them, then we have some overall stake in directing and managing,” Owens said.

Chris Libonati

Chris Libonati covers government, accountability and equity. Have a tip? Contact Chris at 585-290-0718 or libonati@centralcurrent.org.