Thursday, January 29, 2015

International Association of Chiefs of Police Convene a National Policy Summit on Community-Police Relations

When distressed communities are asked what improvements they would like to see in the neighborhood, residents often voice public safety as a necessary factor to strengthening their communities, which at times requires working with law enforcement. In order for communities and law enforcement to come together to create a safe environment, building a strong relationship between community members and police is essential. The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) recently convened at a summit and released a report, the “IACP National Policy Summit on Community-Police Relations.” The IACP is an association of law enforcement executives with over 23,000 members in 100 countries. “The IACP’s mission is to advance professional police services; promote enhanced administrative, technical, and operational police practices; and foster cooperation and the exchange of information and experience among police leaders and police organizations of recognized professional and technical standing throughout the world.”

The report provides an overview acknowledging the complexities within each community, assesses current police challenges, and provides recommendations. As law enforcement takes an evidence-based practice approach to including community members, key takeaways from the report include:

  • Police are often working with diverse populations, which requires proper training in implicit bias, the “predilections held by all that operate largely outside of one’s awareness,” in order to establish trust with community members. 
  • The police department should be more transparent in releasing statistics, arrest information, and other data whether it paints them in a negative or positive light. This can include communicating with the community through media as well as through relationships with community members.
  • Chiefs of Police need to engage key community leaders and build a culture of collaboration in the strategic planning process to address neighborhood safety. Create a shared definition of roles, responsibilities and priorities
  • Citizen surveys should allow for honest feedback to hold police accountable. Police should incorporate the feedback into their practice.
  • Allow the community to see police people as community members, who live, work, and have a stake in the community.

The recommendations from the report are not only a guide to police and community relations, but also are a guide to building community. Because resident engagement is an integral piece to creating strong communities, CSSP’s Building Neighborhood Capacity Program (BNCP) provides resources for resident engagement within the tools and templates section of the website.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

National Family and Community Engagement Conference 2015 Focuses on "Shaping Our Future by Leading Together: Families, Schools and Communities"

The Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) hosts the National Family and Community Engagement Conference in Chicago, the theme for this year being “Shaping Our Future by Leading Together: Families, Schools, and Communities.” IEL works across boundaries to connect policymakers, administrators, and practitioners at all levels to better prepare children and youth for college, careers and citizenship.

Offering over 70 workshops, the event will feature evidence-based practices and leadership at all levels to showcase how schools and communities across the country realize mutual goals through productive partnerships. The structure of the conference encourages networking at the local, state and regional levels, team planning, and in-depth discussions.

The 2015 National Family and Community Engagement Conference will include:

4 Plenaries:
  • Setting the Stage 
  • The Chicago Story 
  • Family Engagement & Equity 
  • Taking it to Scale 

70 Workshops:
  • Sessions will highlight high quality family and community engagement on the following topics: 
  • Early Learning & Literacy (Birth to Age 8) 
  • Student Achievement and Schooling 
  • Community Partnerships 
  • Teacher Leadership & Professional Development 
  • Systemic Practice and Policy 
  • Inclusive Education 
  • Parent Leadership & Advocacy 
  • High School, College & Career Transition
The conference will take place June 22-24, 2015 in Chicago. Policymakers, administrators, and practitioners are encouraged to attend. Visit the website to learn more or register.

Monday, January 26, 2015

New Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants Awarded

Last week, HUD awarded seven new planning grants through their Choice Neighborhoods Initiative. Choice Neighborhoods is an initiative that assists local communities with distressed HUD-assisted or public housing through comprehensive neighborhood revitalization. Planning grants awarded through the program allow communities to embark on a 2-year community-driven planning process to both develop a transformation plan and position the community to implement the revitalization outlined in the plan as well.  
In this latest round of grant awards, HUD has awarded a total of $3.2 million seven new grantees:  
  • The South Saginaw Neighborhood in Flint, Michigan
  • The University Park East Neighborhood in Gary, Indiana
  • The Russell Neighborhood in Louisville, Kentucky
  • The Three Mile Trace Neighborhood in Mobile, Alabama
  • The Thomas James Place Neighborhood in Mobile, Alabama
  • The Urban Core of North Las Vegas, Nevada
  • The Near North Side Neighborhood in St. Louis, Missouri

These neighborhoods are the newest additions to a list of 63 neighborhoods across the country that have received Choice Neighborhoods planning grants since 2010. Descriptions of the neighborhoods and details about their projects under the Choice Neighborhoods planning grants can be accessed here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Department of Health and Human Services Announces Drug-Free Communities Support Program Grant

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) announces a request for applications for community-based coalitions to apply for a grant under the Drug-Free Communities Support Program (DFC). DFC was created with two goals in mind:
  • Establish and strengthen collaboration among communities, public and private non-profit agencies; as well as federal, state, local, and tribal governments to support the efforts of community coalitions working to prevent and reduce substance use among youth (individuals 18 years of age and younger).
  • Reduce substance use among youth and, over time, reduce substance abuse among adults by addressing the factors in a community that increase the risk of substance abuse and promoting the factors that minimize the risk of substance abuse. 
Eligible applicants are community-based coalitions addressing youth substance use that have never received a DFC grant; or have previously received a DFC grant, but experienced a lapse in funding; or have concluded the first five-year funding cycle and are applying for a second five-year funding cycle. See Section III-1 of the RFA for complete eligibility information.

The program expects to administer 170 awards. The maximum award amount is $125,000 for up to five years. Applications are due Wednesday, March 18, 2015. For more information and to apply, visit the website.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Violence Reduction Network Webinar: Innovative Strategies to Address Youth Violence

Youth violence, while steadily decreasing in the U.S. since 1994, remains a continuous issue in many communities. Youth violence refers to physically and social emotionally harmful behaviors that a young person experiences, inflicts or witnesses. Youth violence can exist in school, outside of school and in the home. With an issue that affects entire communities, addressing it requires different agencies to pool resources and work together.

On January 27, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. (ET), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Violence Reduction Network (VRN), in partnership with the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention, will host a Webinar on Innovative Strategies to Address Youth Violence that will engage participants in discussions about innovative approaches to working with high-risk and gang-involved youth, based on the city of San Jose’s Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force and the application of the Milwaukee Homicide Review Commission process on Juvenile Case Review. In addition, local police department representatives will share their expertise. The specific objectives of this session are:
  • Describe the Juvenile Justice Review process, including successes and challenges. 
  • Illustrate successful, collaborative initiatives and programs developed as a result of the review process. 
  • Examine the Milwaukee Homicide Review Commission process and how it can apply to youth violence. 
  • Discuss the structure and staffing of the Safe School Campus Initiative (SSCI). 
  • Discuss partnerships with local agencies. 
  • Review the process to develop a SSCI program. 

State and local law enforcement command-level officers, gang unit officers, and personnel from school police and juvenile justice agencies would benefit from this session. Participants will have the opportunity to submit questions to the presenters when registering and during the Webinar. In addition to learning from these speakers, there will be time for peer-to-peer discussion to allow VRN and National Forum on Youth Prevention sites to share their experiences, challenges, and successes in addressing youth violence in their communities.

The webinar will be moderated by Ms. Kristie Brackens, VRN Co-Director, and Mr. Theron Pride, Senior Policy Advisory, Office of the Assistant Attorney General. To register, follow this link.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Learn More About Financing Brownfields Redevelopment

When developing strategies for neighborhood revitalization, many community change practitioners target the redevelopment of abandoned commercial or industrial properties. In the case of brownfields, “the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant” poses barriers to immediate reuse. Brownfields stand out as visible and hazardous indicators of neighborhood blight, both a potential beacon for environmental justice and equitable development campaigns and a symbol of the loss of economic opportunity in many low-income communities.

In 1995, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established the Brownfields Program to help return these properties to productive use by “empower[ing] states, communities, and other stakeholders … to work together in a timely manner to prevent, assess, safely clean up, and sustainably reuse brownfields. As part of that program, the EPA funds the Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA) to provide technical assistance to communities that are looking to finance brownfield redevelopment. Available resources from the CDFA Brownfields Technical Assistance Program include:

  • The CDFA Brownfields Financing Update is a monthly newsletter that provides the latest headlines, reports, case studies and other resources related to brownfields and redevelopment finance. 
  • The CDFA Brownfields Financing Resource Center is a customized hub and search interface for CDFA's Online Resource Database and programming. 
  • The CDFA Brownfields Financing Webinar Series is an annual, three-part educational offering of the program. 
  • The CDFA Brownfields Project Marketplace and Response Teams offer opportunities to access more intensive technical assistance, including project-specific recommendations and site visits.

Click here for more information about the resources offered by the CDFA Brownfields Technical Assistance Program.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Social Impact Calculator

The Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) has created the Social Impact Calculator – a tool that allows you to put a dollar value to the impact of capital investments.

LIIF is a community development financial institution (CDFI) that invests in capital projects in low income communities in an effort to provide families with access to healthy, green and economically strong places to live. Using the Social Impact Calculator, LIIF is able to monetize the impact of capital investments in communities -- such as funding for housing, child care centers and charter schools -- and assess how well its investments are creating opportunities and reducing inequities in communities.

How does it work? The Social Impact Calculator estimates social returns using research and translating data into monetary values. For example, investments in affordable housing can create discretionary income for families by reducing the burden of housing costs. Those savings can be used by families to cover additional needs, such as food and healthcare. Similarly, as suggested by research, investing in high-performing schools can increase a child’s lifetime earnings while also reducing costs associated with incarceration.

LIIF has made the Social Impact Calculator available to the public and invites communities to explore how they might use the calculator to assess their own efforts. In addition, LIIF invites you to provide feedback about the Social Impact Calculator.