Mayor Frank G. Jackson today announced multiple updates to the office of Prevention, Intervention and Opportunity for Youth and Young Adults (PIOYY). Led by Chief Duane Deskins, the office aligns city resources and creates community collaboration to reduce youth violence. PIOYY has planned multiple programs to address violence as a public health issue, and is made possible by the mayor’s enhanced budget and Issue 32.
“Youth violence is a public health crisis directly impacting the health and wellbeing of our residents, neighborhoods and our city, “said Mayor Jackson. “The symptom of crime especially for our young people can only be addressed through systemic change.”
Using a public health approach, each youth initiative includes meaningful activity and fosters skills necessary for a success in the workforce, school, home and community.
Since launching the office in January 2017, Mayor Jackson and Chief Deskins have introduced several pieces of legislation. They have also implemented programming that connects youth and young adults with support systems, job and recreational and educational opportunities they need to stay away from crime. The program is widely supported by more than 30 partners including the Cleveland Foundation, Case Western Reserve University, Youth Opportunities Unlimited (Y.O.U), Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, Peacemakers Alliance; MetroHealth, University Hospitals, Cleveland Public Theater, Cuyahoga Community College and more.View partial list of partners.
Through the Y.O.U. partnership, the City invested $500,000 –all of which is matched by Y.O.U–to create 500 summer jobs. The result is more than 2,700 Cleveland youth employed this summer – an increase of 40 percent since 2016. The new jobs include the Mayor Jackson’s Neighborhood Corps, which employs 73 Cleveland youth who will take part in clean-up and beautification projects throughout the city beginning June 22.
The Mayor held a Job Match program that linked more than 1,300 people with new jobs; launched an ice cream truck in partnership with the Cleveland Police Foundation, Cleveland Division of Police and Pierre’s Ice Cream to strengthen community engagement and create positive relationships between the police and young people; and, connected partners such as Jimmy John’s, The Greater Cleveland Food Bank and MetroHealth to provide health information and healthy food to residents.
Another part of the initiative, and a result of Issue 32, is the Neighborhood Impact Community Engagement (NICE) Unit. The unit focuses on community engagement in areas of higher crime. Residents will see this group involved in Knock and Talks in the neighborhood and increased constitutional enforcement in the neighborhoods.
The Department of Health has created two new positions with a focus on youth violence as a public health issue. An Epidemiologist will now study this epidemic across populations, and a trauma counselor will respond to episodes of violence from the perspective of trauma-informed care and connect young people with the services they need.
The City also is developing a program focused on young women in grades 9-12 and female adults 18-24 years old. This program will launch later this summer and incorporates providing educational, self-improvement, and mentoring programs through partnerships with local school districts, the juvenile court system, recreation centers and adult agencies.
Mayor Jackson’s Healthy Neighborhoods Initiative focuses on stabilizing neighborhoods, stopping decline and ensuring growth for the future. PIOYY will continue to expand its programs and address youth violence in the City as a public health crisis solved through a holistic, strategic approach.