Columbus Leaders Announce Funding, New Unit To Tackle Youth Gun Violence

Aug 12, 2020

Columbus leaders on Wednesday announced new initiatives aimed at stopping the summer's spike in gun violence.

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther says the city is dedicating $2 million of federal CARES Act funding to social service agencies and community partners for outreach to young people.

The city has seen 84 homicides so far this year, and is one of many cities across the country seeing a spike in gun violence.

Columbus Division of Police say the recent gun violence has largely been among young people, and they blame the pandemic for the lack of in-person school and after school programming.

City leaders also announced the first-of-its-kind Family Stabilization Unit, which will help families navigate available services.

"The idea that a cookie-cutter approach can help one family to the next to the next is not the right approach," says Franklin County Commissioner Kevin Boyce. "So what we're saying with this Family Stabilization Unit is, let's peel back the layers, dig deep to find out where their challenges are, but most importantly, provide the resources to help these families be successful."

Boyce says the unit will focus on boys and young men of color in the justice system with lower-level offenses like truancy and minor delinquency. 

"Instead of focusing solely on preventing boys from future interactions with the justice system," Boyce says, "we will assess the needs to ensure that the entire household, a holistic approach, a multigenerational approach, to make sure the family has all the resources they need."