State announce $10M in federal funds to support intervention programs

TRENTON, NJ — Gov. Phil Murphy and acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced Aug. 8 the allocation of $10 million in federal American Recovery Plan funds to continue funding for the state’s Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Programs, which directly help gun violence victims and serve to break the cycle of gun violence.

In January 2020, the Murphy administration and the Attorney General’s Office awarded $20 million in federal Victims of Crime Act dollars to fund nine HVIPs across New Jersey to reach victims of gun violence and others touched by violence at the time of crisis. A primary goal of the HVIP is to link hospitals with community-based organizations that are already working to assist victims and prevent the spread of violence.

By partnering with community organizations to provide services to victims and families in hospitals following a shooting, the program has shown an ability to reduce the cycle of gun violence when retaliation is most likely to occur and spread. When the $20 million in competitive federal VOCA funding was announced, selected hospitals received two years of HVIP funding, some of which the hospitals sub-awarded to community-based providers in their areas to help directly deliver services to those impacted by gun violence. At the end of the two-year grant period, the Attorney General’s Office made available a third year of VOCA funding in the amount of $10.3 million. 

The initial $20 million VOCA investment along with the additional third year of VOCA funding in HVIP grants were awarded to the following hospitals: Center for Family Services in Camden, Trinitas Health Foundation in Elizabeth, AtlantiCare Atlantic City, Capital Health in Trenton, Jersey City Medical Center, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, University Hospital in Newark, Jersey Shore University Medical Center and St. Joseph’s Health in Paterson.

Building on the success of this program and to further develop and strengthen a community-based approach to public safety, in 2021 Murphy and the Attorney General’s Office announced the creation of an entirely new grant program to expand violence intervention work in New Jersey, announcing $10 million in state funding to establish Community-Based Violence Intervention Programs (CBVIs). Currently, CBVI grants directly fund more than 20 community organizations in 15 municipalities covering every region of the state.

During this time, the Attorney General’s Office learned of an upcoming decrease in federal VOCA funds that would also support HVIPs and worked with the Murphy administration to identify alternative sources of funding. The federal ARP funds will provide this alternative funding source for the HVIP program for at least another 12 months after the VOCA funds are expended. 

“Earlier this year, I signed my comprehensive Gun Safety 3.0 package, which strengthened gun laws across our state, bringing us one step closer to a stronger, fairer and safer New Jersey. Today’s continued funding of the Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Program is another step toward that reality,” Murphy said. “I am proud of the work that this administration has done thus far and am committed to continuing to address the gun violence epidemic our state is facing.”

“Make no mistake — this investment in our HVIP initiative will save lives,” Platkin said. “Thanks to the governor’s leadership, New Jersey will continue its groundbreaking efforts in violence intervention programming by disrupting cycles of violence before they start. I applaud the challenging, but essential, work of our hospital and community partners and will continue to champion these programs as attorney general.”