City announces safety, crime prevention grants
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/12/2019 (1083 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Police have a lot of power and influence, but they can’t do what citizens like Talatu Shokpeka, Mandela Kuet and Kenton Eidse can: help people get into constructive activities and jobs, and unite to keep one another safe.
That’s why the City of Winnipeg is giving $100,000 in grants to local organizations as part of its new Community Safety and Crime Prevention Program.
“It’s no secret that, along with other cities in Canada, our city has been facing challenges relating to public safety and community wellness,” Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman said Wednesday at a Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba branch on Isabel Street, where he announced the grant recipients.
“It’s been cited many, many times that there needs to be a greater focus put on targeting ways that we can reduce crimes so that we can reduce the number of calls to service for our Winnipeg Police Service.”
The city received 64 applications and awarded grants of up to $5,000 to 23 organizations, including IRCOM, which is using the funds to establish a neighbourhood watch project.
“We have heard so many reports in the last while of violent crimes in the neighbourhood,” said Talatu Shokpeka, IRCOM community resource program manager. “Our residents have told us how afraid they were sometimes. Children have been afraid to walk to programs or just even walking back from school.”
The neighbourhood watch will empower area residents to take care of their own safety, with information sessions and training sessions so people know what they need to do “in times of danger or unsafe situations,” Shokpeka said.
Support for other IRCOM activities (such as after-school programs and the use of community spaces and places) helps to “address all the things that youth should not be out there doing,” Shokpeka said.
Mandela Kuet works with African newcomer youth who were lured into gangs and are seeking a way out.
“There needs to be a different approach,” said Kuet, a former IRCOM worker who runs HOOD FAMS (Holistic Ongoing Opportunities Development-Facilitation and Management Services Inc.). It received $5,000 for its newcomer African youth safe space.
Many of the young adults Kuet sees have been barred from community programs and places because they’ve associated with gangs, he said. If they don’t have someone reaching out to help them access services such as welfare and pre-employment programs, they’re going to keep taking part in gang activities, said Kuet.
“We just need to guide them as young people and reinforce the positive engagement and not give up on them because, obviously, where are they going to turn to?”
Another grant recipient is helping those who are getting out of jail get to work.
“This was specifically for working with ex-offenders and the need for transportation supports,” said Debbie Enns, director of Opportunities for Employment, which received $5,000 for its community employment support program. The program helps more than 300 job-seekers who have criminal records find employment within 50 days, Enns said
“Employment is a huge factor in reducing recidivism,” said Kenton Eidse, program manager. “Employment is one of the key factors for ensuring they have a successful parole.
“Employment keeps things focused on the future, and is part of changing patterns of behaviour and the influences surrounding them.”
The grant from the city will provide bus tickets for participants until they get their first paycheque.
“People will end up in a desperate situation if they don’t have income,” said Enns.
After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.