Ottawa invests $5M for Montreal violence prevention
After the city of Montreal announced new funding for programs aimed at curbing gun violence in Montreal, the federal government is also investing $5 million in several local violence prevention projects.
The federal funds will finance four projects in the Montreal region, mainly aimed at youth, Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino announced Friday, at the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce YMCA in Montreal.
He said the best way to to protect communities from gun violence and other crime is to prevent it.
“This is too important and we’ve lost too many lives. And we owe it to the generations today and tomorrow to keep working,” Mendicino said.
The federal funding includes just over $1 million for the Maison d’Haïti to help prevent violence and gang involvement among youth in the Villeray-Saint-Michel neighbourhood.
As well, the Montreal Indigenous Community Network will receive $1.6 million for a project addressing the safety and well-being of Indigenous people in Montreal, with an emphasis on youth violence, while Cactus Montréal will receive $1.7 million for a project in support of trans sex workers who want to leave the sex trade.
The Trevor Williams Kids Foundation will receive more than $700,000 for a program aimed at youth age 6 to 25, to provide mental health support and build education and employment skills.
Educational program manager Linda Bernier, who has been involved in the foundation since 1992, said addressing violence takes support from partners at all levels.
“We can’t do this alone. We can’t save kids alone. We need a community to do it,” she said.
Amy Fleischer, a social worker with Batshaw Youth and Family Centres, said the pandemic has had a detrimental impact on youth, particularly those who don’t have the tools they need to learn from home. But she said youth programs such as those at the Trevor Williams Kids Foundation have made a difference.
Fleischer also works with the foundation on anger management programs for youth.
“The people and the lives that you’re touching are not only the individual kids that are participating in these programs. It’s the families, it’s the communities, it’s the people that are bystanders in the streets — that we’re having less crime affecting everybody,” she said.
The federal funding comes following an announcement Thursday by Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, during a forum on combating gun violence, with Montreal police service and some community groups.
The city will spend $2 million for programs developed by and for youth and $5 million for infrastructure aimed at young people, such as sports facilities, and urban agriculture projects.