Governor Patrick underscores importance of anti-youth violence programs in creating opportunity and safer communities

BOSTON – Tuesday, February 18, 2014 – Governor Deval Patrick today joined Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary John Polanowicz, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and members of the Boston Safe and Successful Youth Initiative (SSYI) to discuss the program’s success and the continued importance of the Patrick Administration’s efforts to create safer communities by ending the cycle of violence and enabling residents to make better lives for themselves.

“By partnering with local community and civic leaders across the Commonwealth, the Safe and Success Youth Initiative is working to break the cycle of violence and provide the resources to help our young people help themselves,” said Governor Patrick. “We are here today because we share a commitment to making our communities safer; every community, for every resident. Safe communities are what it takes to create opportunity and opportunity is what America is about.”

Building upon his investments in violence prevention, the Governor proposed an investment of $4.8 million to continue SSYI programs statewide through the end of this fiscal year in his FY14 supplemental budget, as well as $9.5 million in his FY15 budget in order to fully fund services across the Commonwealth.

SSYI is a comprehensive, interagency strategy that connects law enforcement, employment, education, public health and youth development agencies to reduce youth violence in the Commonwealth. The program focuses on young men, ages 14 to 24, who have a proven risk for criminal behavior, have been victims of violence or are family members of someone who has. SSYI-supported programs have served over 1,300 young people, connecting them with education and employment opportunities that help them achieve personal and professional success. The 11 participating cities have achieved a 25 percent drop in homicide victims ages 14-24 and a 19 percent decrease in aggravated assault in victims ages 14-24.

“SSYI’s proven track record of results is making our Commonwealth safer for generations to come,” said Secretary Polanowicz. “The program is not only improving the lives of the young people and families directly served, but it also reduces crime and promotes safer and stronger communities.”

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