A Fund for Healing: VOCA Grants for Violence Reduction
Adequate funding is essential to providing robust, sustainable services to victims of gun violence. Local community-based organizations have been delivering these critical services for years, healing families and communities while preventing future gun violence. However, these local organizations are often under-resourced and require additional funding to expand and sustain their positive impact. Since 2015, the federal government has allocated an annual average of $2.3 billion in Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) victim assistance funds to states and territories. But states routinely fail to spend up to a third of available funds even as gun violence victims and their communities are in desperate need of resources. Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund and Cities United have identified federal VOCA victim assistance grants as a bountiful but underutilized resource for gun violence intervention services. This report details plans of action for states, cities, hospitals, and community-based organizations to utilize this funding for communities impacted by gun violence. If followed, these recommendations would reverse the historical failure of states to dedicate VOCA victim assistance dollars to gun violence victim services and enable them to seize an opportunity to make our communities safer, healthier, and more hopeful.