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City’s anti-violence mentoring programs threatened by lack of funding

CHICAGO -- Times are tough for the men and women working so hard to make a dent in the gun violence in Chicago.

There are many programs out there aimed at helping youth stay out of trouble, but the problem now is a lack of state funding. Some programs have had to shut down all together and in many cases most have had to make up to a 75% reduction in services due to the state budget impasse.

Human services funding statewide has been hit especially hard the last two years.  And along with that decrease there has been an increase in the number of shootings in Chicago. 762 people were killed last year, a 57 percent increase from the year before.

There have been protests demanding a restoration of funding for youth intervention programs, but those working in the field are seeing teens slip through the cracks.
In an op-ed piece in the Sun-Times today, Mayor Rahm Emanuel feels there is no one cause nor cure to the gun violence problem in Chicago.   Instead, it’s a combination of factors including poverty, weak gun sentencing laws and a lack of positive role models.

Over the next three years, the city will invest 36 million dollars in teen mentoring programs. But from a state funding perspective, the outlook is bleak.