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Council to vote on crime prevention grants

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INDIANAPOLIS – The City-County Council is set to debate a plan to spend $2 million in city crime prevention grants.

The money is traditionally spent on community groups that fight crime in the streets, support youth programs and work with offenders returning to neighborhoods.

Political struggles within the council have set the process back, meaning some organizations won’t get the money they need to fund summer programs until after children go back to school in August.

“We’re not going to get the money now until the end of summer so that means that we’re going to go through May, June, (and) July without the crime prevention dollars being put on the streets to faith-based groups that are going to be working closely with IMPD and their strategy to reduce violence,” said Rev. Charles Harrison of the Ten Point Coalition.

Rev. Malachi Walker’s Young Men Inc. program takes in up to 70 children for a daily summer camp that emphasizes education, moral training, activities and lunch.

Walker’s boys often raise money on their own with a drum line on city street corners. Walker said his program has a $61,000 budget. Currently, he’s raised $21,000 and expects to field phone calls from dozens of parents in May searching for a summer program for their children.

About $3,000 of Walker’s budget came from the Summer Youth Program Fund administered by the Central Indiana Community Foundation.

The fund is supported by charitable partners such as the Lilly Endowment, Christel DeHaan Family Foundation, Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust and others.

About $2.3 million will be awarded to 154 organizations operating 184 summer programs for an estimated 40,000 youngsters.

“Summer learning loss and improving academic enrichment over the summer months” are priorities, according to Roderick Wheeler of the CICF.

He says youth employment and summer feeding programs are priorities also.

“This announcement is good to notify parents if you’re thinking about a summer program, try to enroll them now. Look at some of the public resources to try to find a good place for your young person in the summertime.”

Wheeler says parents can log on to Marion County Commission on Youth’s website to learn about available programs or call 921-1266.