WASHINGTON (WDVM) — Mayor Muriel Bowser celebrated National Reentry Month today by announcing that around 200 residents identified as being most at risk of committing or being a victim of violent crime have been matched with interagency support teams for immediate access to resources.

The Mayor announced Paul Winestock’s His and Hers restaurant. Winestock’s initiative, Saving Our Next Generation, gives residents training and work possibilities after serving 23 years in federal prison. He also oversees the Anacostia High School Clean Streets Team and the Safe Passage program.

We know that a relatively small number of people are responsible for a significant amount of the gun violence happening in our communities. What we are doing is reaching out to those people, listening to them and figuring out what they need, and then working with them to get them on a better, safer path forward. We also know that no one person or agency can do this work alone. We need community members like Paul, who have these lived experiences and who know how to create better and safer opportunities, working with us. We also need to make sure every resource and all of our programs are being used effectively to help the people who need them most – and that’s what the People of Promise initiative will help us do.

Mayor Bowser

According to the news release, The People of Promise initiative is aimed at the approximately 200 residents in the District who have been recognized by the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (NICJR) as being at the highest risk of becoming involved in gun violence. A diverse team has been formed for each person, which includes a Credible Contact, a Pathfinder, and a member of Mayor Bowser’s cabinet.

A $1.7 million investment in the Mayor’s FY23 budget will strengthen this project by adding about 20 Life Coaches to deliver focused and high-quality care coordination services. In addition, the Mayor’s budget includes $251 million for the construction of a new DC jail that will better support rehabilitation and reentry.

The Life Coach program is part of a package of more than $80 million in non-police interventions. These investments include: 

  • $11.4M to support returning citizens with financial assistance through community-based organizations, financial coaching, and peer navigators as they transition back into the community 
  • $9.7M for additional violence interrupters and $390K for additional credible messengers 
  • $12.7M for youth safety initiatives, including an expansion of Safe Passage, out-of-school activities for youth, and enhanced training for school resource officers 
  • $6.6M for DBH, DDOT, and DPW to respond to nonemergency 911 calls for mental health distress, minor traffic crashes, and parking complaints 
  • $7.7M to support 110 dedicated year-round employment opportunities through the Department of Public Works for individuals at risk of gun violence 
  • $4.5M for DC Pathways to serve an additional 100 individuals at risk of gun violence and $8.5M to provide more wraparound support services including Pathways Champions positions for at-risk individuals, Project Empowerment support services, intensive care coordination, housing assistance/relocation, and transportation support 
  • $2.5M to expand trauma-informed mental health services 
  • $2.2M for temporary safe housing for residents involved in gun violence 
  • $1.5M for community investment grants to carry out neighborhood action plans in focus neighborhoods