Chicago plan will give $411 million to pay for housing, public parks, ‘holistic’ services

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has initiated a crime reduction plan costing up to $411 million.

Her plan, according to the Post Millennial, will divert funds to government housing, public parks, and other “holistic” services, rather than funding the Chicago police department.

The city has been struggling as crime rates rise. Since 2019, the crime rate has increased by 7.5% which includes a 100% increase in deadly shootings in violent neighborhoods.

The “Our City, Our Safety” initiative, introduced a year ago, takes a “holistic” approach to tackling these issues. But according to crime data kept by the Chicago Sun-Times, this plan has done little to reduce crime. In fact, some communities have only gotten more dangerous.

In an interview, the Chicago Mayor said, “we may not call all of these things part of the tools of public safety, but they absolutely fundamentally are. Because when people are healthy, when communities are vibrant, when folks feel like they have ownership of the geography under their feet, communities thrive.”

Experts have applauded her plan, but are questioning how the administration will maintain the significant funding required to continue supporting her plan (Chicago Sun-Times). 

According to Kim Smith, a director and the University of Chicago Crime Lab,  it will be important to assess how these groups being funded can reduce violence. “This level of investment in violence prevention is unprecedented and so important given the enormous toll of gun violence in Chicago. It’s also important to be clear about the theory of change behind each of these investments.”

Mayor Lightfoot has acknowledged challenges but did not say when the federal money would run out, as the majority of funds are coming from the American Rescue Plan, which is a one-time stimulus.  

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