Austin receives $1 million-plus from state to fight violence

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Circle Family HealthCare Network will soon begin deciding how to dole out about $1.13 million in state funding for a new violence prevention initiative in Austin, and the non-profit wants the community’s help.

State officials chose Circle Family HealthCare Network – which provides medical care at two federally qualified community health centers in Austin and employs about 120 people at six locations – to be the lead agency.

Groups in 17 other Chicago neighborhoods and several suburbs were named lead agencies and will be responsible for distributing millions of dollars elsewhere.

Austin’s first advisory committee will be held Nov. 29 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Columbus Park Field House, 500 S. Central Ave.

Circle Family HealthCare Network is looking for individuals to serve on the committee, which will provide input on how the violence prevention initiative should be implemented in Austin and help identify community-based groups to receive the funding.

“We want this to be a good collaboration in combating violence in our community,” said Dr. Andre L. Hines, Circle Family HealthCare Network’s chief executive officer. “It’s exciting that (the state) is putting money in the community.”

The five main areas of the grant, which falls under Gov. Pat Quinn’s Neighborhood Recovery Initiative and is being implemented through the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority, are:

  • A $400,000 “mentoring plus jobs” program through which 80 youth will get part-time jobs, mentoring, and social/emotional skills and support. Sixteen mentors and two to three coordinators will be hired on a part-time basis.
  • A $100,000 “parent leadership” program will provide 50 parents with leadership, empowerment and self-care skills to help them be community leaders, educators and mentors to other parents. Participating parents and one to two coordinators will be hired on a part-time basis.
  • A $275,000 “school-based counseling” program through which community groups will be paid to provide early-intervention and trauma-informed counseling services for students.
  • A “safety net works” youth violence prevention programs that already exist in Austin will be expanded with $100,000.
  • “Reentry” programs will get $250,000 to provide expanded services for youth and young adults returning to Austin from correctional facilities.

Circle Family HeathCare Network, which was asked by the state to apply to be the lead agency, will receive $200,000 to administer the one-year program.

Individuals, community organizations, service providers, faith-based groups, schools, law enforcement, parents, youth, business and civic leaders of the Austin community are invited to join the committee.

If you’re interested in serving on the advisory committee or want to nominate someone else, complete this form and e-mail to Vickie Rivkin, project director in Austin for the Illinois Neighborhood Recovery Initiative, at For more information, call (773) 379-1000.

For those wanting to attend the Nov. 29 advisory committee meeting, please RSVP by Nov. 23 by e-mailing or calling Rivkin.

Here’s some more information from Progress Illinois that was posted Nov. 23.

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