Council commits $400,000 to help organization tackling youth violence in northern portion of city

Nonprofit group We Are One United needs matching grants after receiving $2.1 million from the state for its United for Safe Youth Initiative. It got some earlier this week.

The Palm Springs City Council voted unanimously this week to provide hundreds of thousands of dollars to help address the problem of youth violence in an area of the city where it’s needed most. 

Background: Nonprofit organization We Are One United (WAOU) recently received a $2.1 million grant from the state for its United for Safe Youth Initiative. As a part of the grant, the organization is required to find matching funds.

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  • During Monday evening’s regular City Council meeting, elected officials gave unanimous approval for a request for some of those matching funds, approving $400,000 that will be used to begin “a comprehensive, holistic approach to reducing and preventing violence in the District One area of Palm Springs for at-risk youth.”

Bigger picture: The initiative is described as a multi-phase program targeting young people in the northern portion of Palm Springs through community outreach, job training and mentorship, and leadership training. 

  • Police have been concerned with the rise of violence between North Sunrise Way and North Palm Canyon Drive for years, pointing out that the area with 2% of the population has 30% of its total reported gun violence.

  • Leaders in the community, however, note that while the gun violence to population ratio may be disproportionate, the city’s budget for the area is not. They’ve asked repeatedly for the city to provide programs that will offer youth safety from the streets and help train adults for careers that pay a living wage but received little response.

  • We examined issues affecting the community in this in-depth report earlier this year.

What they’re saying: “Too often, nonprofits come into communities after getting a grant, and they only work during the time period of the grant,” said John Epps, founder of WAOU. “Then when it’s over, it’s over. What we want to do is build in the community the infrastructure and the leadership that will allow it to sustain and continue to endure and provide the services that they do.”


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