© 2024 Peoria Public Radio
A joint service of Bradley University and Illinois State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Cure Violence implementation on hold after losing East Bluff partner

Program Specialist Demeatreas Whatley explains the public education campaigns portion of the Cure Violence program at Monday's Cure Violence 101 meeting at the Peoria Public Library.
Collin Schopp
Program Specialist Demeatreas Whatley explains the public education campaigns portion of the Cure Violence program at the Peoria Public Library in October 2022.

Implementation of the gun violence prevention program Cure Violence in Peoria’s East Bluff is at a standstill after a community nonprofit had to back out of its contract.

The Peoria City/County Health Department, which stepped in to fund the Cure Violence initiative after the city council passed on it, signed a contract with Peoria Community Against Violence, or PCAV, in April. Katy Endress, the health department's director of epidemiology and clinical services, said PCAV had to back out of the contract.

PCAV announced in July that a considerable amount of the agency's federal funding was being discontinued.

“They wanted to ensure the sustainability of their core programs. And without funding to do that they needed to kind of redirect their focus,” Endress said. “And they just felt like they didn't have the capacity to move forward at this time.”

If PCAV’s funding finds more stability in the future, Endress said it could revisit the possibility of facilitating Cure Violence through the the health department. As a partner organization, PCAV would have been responsible for establishing a brick and mortar operation in the targeted area of the East Bluff, as well as interviewing and hiring the “violence interrupters” the intervention model is based on.

In the meantime, the department has started the process of finding a partner organization to establish a second Cure Violence site on Peoria’s South Side. The deadline on that application has been extended twice.

“At the last [Safety Network] meeting, we had organizations that were discussing amongst themselves about how they could partner with one another. But they felt like that turnaround time just wasn't sufficient to really put together a strong application,” Endress said. “And they requested that we give it a little bit more time.”

Endress said there are multiple smaller organizations that could be a good fit for Cure Violence. But some of them may not have the fiscal infrastructure to meet all the application requirements alone.

She said it’s worth the wait, as these smaller organizations have what she calls “trust capital.”

“They can bring that message to the people that we're trying to reach, those that are at highest risk of either becoming a perpetrator or a victim of firearm violence,” Endress said. “So that those individuals will see these people as someone that they're going to listen to, that they respect.”

The entire Cure Violence program, she said, depends on making sure you find the right person to implement it.

“This organization has been around for 15 years or more, starting originally in Chicago,” Endress said. “So they have seen what happens when you don't have the right people in those positions, or the right partnering with the right organizations.”

The South Side application deadline is currently Sept. 26. Endress said the department will likely return to finding a new partner organization for the East Bluff after the South Side location is established.

Collin Schopp is a reporter at WCBU. He joined the station in 2022.