Cook County to Spend $25 Million to Address Gun Violence

By James R. Scott, The Chicago Times

February 22, 2023

CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Human Services Office of Firearm Violence Prevention in partnership with Cook County’s Justice Advisory Council announced Tuesday $25 million in grants to fund service providers focused on supporting residents at risk of experiencing gun violence in Chicago and Suburban Cook County.

“Gun violence is not inevitable or a sacrifice that we must make in the false name of freedom. And here in Illinois, we treat gun violence like the public health emergency that it is.  Throughout my administration, we have taken an inter-agency approach to address our uniquely American problem—and this partnership between Cook County and IDHS is the latest example of the many ways we are investing in our communities to prevent gun violence before it strikes.”  said Illions Governor JB Pritzker.

“Working together, we will rise to the challenge of addressing gun violence in our region.  For the past three years, we have engaged in an unprecedented level of intergovernmental coordination around gun violence prevention.  This funding is a testament to our shared commitment to building safe and thriving communities in Cook County, and throughout Illinois. We will continue to invest in effective, equitable, and sustainable solutions that address the root causes of gun violence in our communities.” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

“This funding demonstrates a commitment among Illinois leaders to cooperate and eliminate bureaucratic hurdles so that qualified violence prevention providers can quickly receive the resources that they need to adequately address firearm violence, one of our state’s most significant public health challenges.  As partners, we will continue to take a thoughtful, targeted approach to violence intervention in communities with the highest rates of firearm violence. Together, through our partnership with Cook County, across all levels of government, and alongside our community stakeholders, we are working effectively to prevent and reduce gun violence.”  said Chris Patterson, Assistant Secretary, the Illinois Department of Human Services.

The $25 million in funding will allow for 39 grant awards to individual organizations and coalitions to support 74 service providers working to build safer communities throughout.

“Throughout Cook County, community-based service providers are leading the way in delivering culturally-responsive, innovative, and effective gun violence prevention programming.  These organizations are working on the front lines of the gun violence crisis and they need robust and sustained support to make a lasting impact.  Cook County is grateful to be collaborating with the Illinois Department of Human Services Office of Firearm Violence Prevention whose support is allowing us to scale up funding to meet the great need for services.” said Executive Director of the Justice Advisory Council Avik Das.

In 2022, the Illinois Department of Human Services issued Notices of Funding Opportunities that were available across Cook County to provide similar services to those outlined in the JAC initiative.