Better Family Life receives $600K in grants to help in violence prevention

ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Crime Commission and other community leaders held a news conference Monday afternoon to address the uptick in violence in our community and announce a unique partnership.

This comes after more than two dozen people were shot in St. Louis City over the long holiday weekend.

In the past year, a team of outreach workers at Better Family Life has been credited with 83 de-escalation events. Now, over $600,000 is being given to Better Family Life to do more.

“I believe we have less than 18 months before we hit a major skid that St. Louis has never seen before,” said James Clark, vice president of community outreach for Better Family Life.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar had high praise for Better Family Life at Monday’s news conference.

“What James is doing here is amazing. That’s 83 individuals that didn’t lose a life at least,” he said.

St. Louis City Police Chief John Hayden said their success in a short time is undeniable. professional trained men and women from problem areas themselves, going back and working in these violent areas

“Right now, we've seen working with Better Family Life, a lot of people come to them about conflicts they wouldn’t normally tell me about otherwise. Say things like, ‘I can’t tell police I shot somebody,’” he said.

The US Department of Justice, the St. Louis Crime Commission, and St. Louis Regional Business Council are each giving at least $200,000 so Better Family Life can train more men and women for intervention and prevention of crime.

“Together, we will have a huge impact and you will see St. Louis safer a year from now,” said attorney Ed Dowd Jr., president of the St. Louis Crime Commission.

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson said police shouldn’t be the only way to combat the epidemic of violence.

“This is a battle for our community, people deserve to feel safe. And the stakes couldn’t be higher. People are losing lives,” said Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt.

The goal is to train 50 outreach workers in the community as soon as possible.

“We hope today that word gets out that when disputes are ongoing people contact Better Family Life,” US Attorney Jeffrey Jensen.

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