WASHINGTON – With Virginians increasingly concerned about violence and crime in their communities, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) and U.S. Rep. A. Donald McEachin (D-VA-04) today announced $996,000 in federal funding allocated to Virginia Commonwealth University for gun violence prevention efforts in Richmond. The funding comes through the Department of Justice as part of the Fiscal Year 2022 Byrne Discretionary Grants Program and was secured through the appropriations process by the lawmakers in the FY2022 government spending bill.
Specifically, the funding will go towards hospital-based crisis intervention for families, friends, and survivors of violence; establishing a data-sharing network for information among law enforcement, health systems, social service providers, and other community partners; as well as evaluation and quality assurance to evaluate the effectiveness of these efforts.
“We need to do everything we can to combat the scourge of gun violence in our communities,” the lawmakers said. “We are proud to have secured funding for this program that will help save lives by implementing strong, evidence-based intervention methods to prevent crime.”
“We thank Senators Warner and Kaine and Representative McEachin for their continued support and commitment as we work with public agencies and community partners to tackle gun violence and other social determinants of health that continue to impact our communities,” said Art Kellermann, M.D., senior vice president for health sciences at VCU and CEO of VCU Health System. “Funding for the Richmond Gun Violence Prevention Framework will be instrumental in reducing the number of injuries related to violence treated in our hospital."
As part of FY2022 appropriations, Congress revived a process that allows members to make Congressionally Directed Spending requests, otherwise known as earmarks, in a manner that promotes transparency and accountability. This process allows Congress to dedicate federal funding for specific projects. Through this process, Sens. Warner and Kaine, along with Rep. McEachin, were able to secure this dedicated funding for the VCU Health System to lead a collaborative gun violence prevention effort with the City of Richmond and other community stakeholders.
Sens. Warner and Kaine have been active supporters of increased gun violence prevention measures. Last month, the senators voted in favor of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act – landmark legislation to curb gun violence.