Chicago/ Politics & Govt
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Published on June 20, 2024
Chicago Expands Victim Support Fund to More Neighborhoods with $6.4M Boost for Gun Violence ReliefSource: Google Street View

Chicago's efforts to provide financial support to victims of gun violence and their families are set to broaden, with the city announcing an expansion of its Emergency Supplemental Victims Fund (ESVF) to cover ten additional neighborhoods. Initially serving five communities, the ESVF is now extending its reach thanks to $6.4 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds that will be allocated over the next two years, CBS Chicago reports.

As communicated by Mayor Brandon Johnson, the program is not just a response to violence but also, a rebuttal to the impact of "historical disinvestment, and school closings" that have long plagued these areas. Under this program, eligible Chicagoans who have been affected by gun violence can seek up to $1,000 in general assistance, another $1,000 for temporary relocation, and $1,500 for funeral or burial expenses — an effort to alleviate the financial and psychological weight borne by survivors and relatives of the deceased.

The ESVF initiative, which began in December 2022 has supported over 200 individuals to date according to WGN-TV. Mayor Johnson emphasized the city's commitment stating, "I am proud to expand this impactful program and, holistically support our residents who suffer from the trauma of gun violence," highlighting the dual approach of preventing violence and aiding victims.

The expansion encompasses neighborhoods identified for both their high crime rates and existing socio-economic challenges, including Auburn Gresham, Austin, Chicago Lawn, Greater Grand Crossing, Humboldt Park, North Lawndale, Roseland, South Lawndale, South Shore, and West Pullman. Victims, or their next of kin, are required to collaborate with a victim advocate to avail of the ESVF program support, where advocates assist applicants through the qualification and application processes in their respective community areas. This move comes in the context of persistent violence across the city, as underscored by recent overnight shootings in Chicago detailed by CBS Chicago.

Information on the ESVF eligibility criteria as well as the application procedure lays accessible on the city's official website. Fund administrators hope that by reaching more neighborhoods with these critical supports, the enduring cycle of trauma and economic hardship wrought by gun violence may see a restraining effect, if not a reversal, contributing to the overarching vision of a Chicago where all citizens can experience healing and, ultimately, safety.