New York State is looking to reduce gun violence and help victims of shootings by giving more than $3 million dollars to seven SNUG programs. The street outreach program works with high-risk youth and helps transition them in to a healthier lifestyle.
Buffalo SNUG will be receiving $677,980, a large increase from the close to $360,000 they received two-years ago. Pastor James Giles, who runs Back to Basics Outreach Ministries Inc., said the increased funding shows the state Division of Criminal Justice Services believes in what they are doing.
“We’re deeply invested in to this area in terms of getting next to gun shooters and people that may know them,” Giles said, “and our effort is to get them to eradicate or handle their business another way. We run through conflict resolution and other programs that we offer.”
Giles said their personnel is fully equipped to resolve conflict to help two people that may be violent toward each other.
“We have almost 45 former shooters in this program. These guys, if not in our program, they may be out packing and be involved in activities and things that would cause them to shoot. It would be more bloodshed on the street.”
Buffalo SNUG will be expanding this year. In addition to the 14215 and 14211 zip codes, they will be serving residents who live in the 14214 and 14208 areas.
Giles says they’re expanding and receiving more money because the state Division of Criminal Justice Services believes they’ve done a good job.
“You don’t really hear a lot about gang violence shootings where you got gangs at war going back and forth with each other. You’ve already heard that we’ve made a pretty decent mark. Particularly around Bailey Avenue, Delevan Avenue, and Ferry Avenue.”
The state has provided 11 SNUG groups with grants totaling their investment in the program close to $4.78 million.