As Philly budget talks begin, groups impacted by gun violence say more funding can make a difference

Millions of dollars are being proposed to stop the bloodshed in Philadelphia. The plan is part of the mayor’s budget being reviewed by city council.

""A guy like this, this is what we need more of," gunshot survivor Maurice Hill stated.

At New Options More Opportunities in North Philadelphia, they preach real models instead of role models. 25-year-old Hill survived a shooting and sees why that’s important.

"People who have been through it, to not just talking from an outside view. Not just pointing the finger, telling you what to do, but help you do it, go through it with you," Hill explained.

"Help get out of economic hardship and get them out of poverty and give them that safe space and that family love they need in their life," said COO and Executive Director of New Options More Opportunities Rickey Duncan.

Duncan hopes the city recognizes how important that is in combatting the city’s surging gun violence.

Budget talks started Monday and Mayor Jim Kenney proposed $36 million, a $19 million increase, to tackle the issue, including funding for groups already with boots on the ground in early intervention.

"If this all goes through, it creates a future for our young people. It creates more opportunity, more resources and more places for our youth to be, so they won’t be a victim to these streets," Duncan added.

Duncan says they currently serve more than 100 youth a week. City funding could dramatically increase that. But, some feel the mayor’s proposal should be more aggressive.

Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson suggesting more money towards intervention programs, job opportunities and Parks and Rec safety.

"I think we can make an even more significant investment. I know that the number one issue everyone is concerned with right now is gun violence," Johnson explained.

Clarence Peterkin hopes there’s a true commitment to change, so people can leave the house feeling safe.

"I don’t come out after dark. Ain’t nothing out here. I’m out in the daytime and that’s it," Peterkin commented.

Budget hearings will continue for several weeks. City council has until the end of June to approve the budget, which will go into effect July 1st.



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