Thursday, January 31, 2008

2008 Current Wave Gun Violence Allegheny County, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania



" As police arrested one suspect and sought another in the shooting death Monday of a 12-year-old Perry South girl, authorities announced an intensified effort to combat a sharp upswing in gang violence." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 31, 2008.

Todd Elliott Koger, Candidate Pa. State Representative District 24

"NO QUESTIONS ASKED INNER-CITY OMBUDSMAN PROJECT"

A RESULT-ORIENTED GRANT APPLICATION/PROPOSAL TO STOP THE CURRENT WAVE OF GUN VIOLENCE.

INTRODUCTION:

"As is always the case at rallies against violence, there will be eloquent and impassioned speeches about the need for self-esteem, the value of education and the importance of conflict resolution. What won't be in the offing are easy answers about how to deal with the plague of gun violence." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 28, 2007.

VISION:

Unemployment, poverty, declining physical structures, single-parent households, violent crime, drug-related activity, poor health, and hunger are all among the problems suffered disproportionately. The target communities have a high incidence of (1) violent crime evidenced by a high rate of calls of police service; (2) drug-related activity as evidence by sales and known crack houses; (3) economic deprivation evidenced by substantially high unemployment, food stamps dependency and public assistance; and, (4) an elevated high school dropout rate. As the litany suggests, the needs are great.

The answer is simple. It starts with one man or woman, committed to a set of specific and result-oriented procedures and good faith, coming forward and requesting nothing more than the opportunity to do some good. The answer isn't as complex as local decision makers claim. To start it will take little more than donated office space, a telephone, computer, and possibly a van. That is, our youth are not faring well! This project should have started yesterday. . . .

We don't need another politician who is visible only before election time, always followed by the media, meeting with the already self-disciplined and organized block watch groups or tenant councils. We need someone welcome by those normally "too hard to reach" because he or she produces tangible results and is trusted as a "homegrown" trying to do some good.

"Stomp the Yard," a coming of an age movie, celebrates how human spirit, brotherhood, and trial and struggle can work together to produce a positive change in the life of a young man with a hard-luck background. The film evokes strong discussion of the importance of education, tradition and contemporary culture. It depicts the college experience as a medium that can positively enhance and transform the lives of youth.

The "no questions asked" vision is to use the initial draw to camaraderie to promote close association and mutual support among youth in Pittsburgh's poorest neighborhoods. Using the success of Greek life at black colleges and universities as a model, one man or woman with a vision can instill principles of fellowship, good character and uplifting of humanity into the lives of our hardest to reach residents. In short, black fraternities and sororities arose from the hostility students experienced in the early 20th century and its support systems and social networks have shaped and nurtured our youth cultivating many of today's leaders. Through support suppression activities and a "bridge" to prevention, as well as neighborhood reclamation and restoration, job training and support service, the demonstration project will offer a greater proportion of the region's most needy population opportunity to better interact with society.

Sometimes just being there, available and willing to help a struggling individual secure a working refrigerator for his Mom, a child's bed for his kid, or curtains/mini blinds for the windows at his girlfriend's apartment, will keep a troubled individual out of harm's way!

"What's needed is a trusted advocate steadfast to the challenge of canvassing the most dangerous neighborhood [door-to-door, corner-to-corner, housing-project-to-housing-project] to redress those barriers that have systematically prevented inner-city residents from becoming productive participants in mainstream society."

PROGRAM SUMMARY:

1. One individual (man or woman) will serve as the lead applicant as part of a partnership grant application for the program, but other public and private partners whose mission is to provide job preparation and training, placement assistance, employment opportunities, and related social services and supports for youth with special needs (to help them enjoy the dignity and benefits of work and a better quality of life) will be identified and recruited to collaborate and make the project a success.

2. At a minimum to participate youth will be required to do nothing more than complete an application specifically developed to collect relevant information related to this opportunity, and every unemployed youth (and targeted communities) will be identified and approached at least once or twice. The completed applications will be screened (any ambiguity clarified with the applicant) and a second meeting scheduled immediately to determine the applicant's true interest and assess actual needs.

3. Educational and job training services and support activities are planned to provide instruction (life and workplace skills) necessarily to balance employment, family and personal needs. That is long-term vocational success is contingent upon the ability of an individual to manage the demands of whole-life activities. Attitude skills, communication, critical thinking, motivation, personal/social skills, leisure planning, self-presentation, life management skills and the use of community resources (supports and infrastructure that will be needed to maintain employment and family) are planned topics to be addressed in this component.

4. Job readiness activities will focus on preparing participants to meet employers' expectations and the region's labor market demand. Hiring trends, career exploration, networking, interview strategies, leadership skill development, job retention and career development/advancement strategies are planned topics. The educational and job training plans will be individualized to meet the expected diverse educational and cultural backgrounds, and skills level of the participants. Once sufficient private and/or public funds are identified participants will begin to receive minimum wage pay (during the academic and support services educational phase of the program) as positive reinforcement.

5. Leadership development activities will be incorporated into the daily schedule. Technical and tactical proficiency; communication, professional ethics; planning; use of available systems; decision making; teaching and counseling; conflict resolution; supervision; and team development, are planned topics to be addressed in this component. In addition, each participant will be required to identify a community need that can be addressed through a group volunteer activity.

6. Counseling and support services are the primary objectives of the program. As an Ombudsman the lead applicant will keep current about community resources available to assist any youth identified. He or she will share information with, and make referrals regularly to, community-based partners which provide the needed services. In particular, these services include drug and alcohol treatment, food banks, emergency shelters and transitional housing, medical services, psychological counseling, services for abused women and children, and more.

7. Case management will be provided to instill principles of fellowship, good character and uplifting of humanity into the lives of the participants. The lead applicant will develop provision to allow daily case management/counseling contact with each participant, and intensive case management services will be provided on an as needed basis (when a participant is absent or displays any behavior that raises questions regarding the individual's motivation to continue).

8. Job coaching contacts are planned for any participant actually placed into employment to reinforce academic, leadership, job readiness, and life skills learned in the classroom.

9. On-the-job training is planned to provide the participants with work experience to facilitate an informed decision when choosing a career. In addition, the training is structured so that participants will develop confidence and realized the fruit of their labor. Planned partnerships with the region's business community will guarantee 100 percent placement of those completing the program. That is, the program will teach marketable job skills, and help neighborhood youth gain a positive and productive life (giving hardest to reach residents a beginning means of achieving a future for them and their families).

The following outline indicates the job development and placement objectives.

Identify job opportunities and secure employer commitments.

Prepare participants for job interviews, including checking references.

Match participants to jobs and arrange interviews.

Conduct follow-up job coaching, documenting results.

Conduct follow-up interviews to ensure successful placement and an employee/employer match.

10. Special provision to Map blight and decay is also planned. Many neighborhoods continued to be plagued with areas of blight and decay, often exemplified with streets of run-down and abandoned housing. Creation of affordable housing represents a major step toward a stable society.

STAFFING RATIONALE:

An established nonprofit partner will agree to perform, in a good faith and professional manner, the servicing, administration and supervision of the Project. It will immediately hire the lead applicant as the Executive Director to develop an implementation plan (i.e., within weeks he or she will develop a program manual, personnel policy, and the like), and when funding permits hire a profession and capable support staff.

The Executive Director will be responsible for the administration, management and overall operation of the program. He or she will be responsible for setting up the administrative office and training center. The office will have regular business hours, and will be located on a public transportation route. The hours will be posted and advertised. Phones will always be answered, and every concern will be immediately addressed, and the participant's success will be measured by more than just enrollment, but the overall empowerment the individual will provide to his or her family, the group, and their neighborhood as a whole.

All personnel and sub-recipient personnel whose salaries are paid in whole or in part by the funding provider will keep accurate time records. The records will be kept current and readily available for inspection. Authorized time sheets will accompany each request for funds. These time sheets will coincide with the time logs in the administrative nonprofit's files. All personal files will be protected under local, state, and federal privacy laws.

At the end of the first month of actual operation, the Executive Director will implement a "hand-on" leadership training session for any staff (based upon his or her professional study of other programs). In addition, the local university and college community will be lobbied to provide specialized staff training (lectures, classroom instruction, and special workshops).

Funding permitted a deputy administrator will also be hired for fiscal management within the first month. If not, he or she will be hired within three weeks of actual operation to implement a fiscal plan having the ability to generate accurate and timely fiscal information, and to submit such reports as required by the Executive Director, nonprofit partner, and/or any funding source.

The fiscal plan will maintain a set of accounts of original entry under a system of sound internal accounting and administrative control to the extent necessary to document all transactions and to evaluate and permit audits of the system. Such provisions will provide control and assurances as to safeguarding all assets and funds received against loss from unauthorized use or disposition. The fiscal plan will have provision and responsibility for implementing the development of private funds and/or partnerships with government and community-based organizations in a manner sufficient to achieve matching private funds for a second, third or fourth year.

A long-range plan will be established by the midpoint of the first year. The premise: It is understood that everything can't be completed and accomplished at once. Making a coordinated plan is essential. Particular goals will be targeted initially and as time goes areas will be emphasized and other areas of past success will be maintained. Within the first month of actual operation, the deputy will develop a plan for performance evaluation. Included in the plan will be provision for immediate modifications and/or revisions concerning performance when problems have been identified. Therefore, at the end of each fiscal year and/or long-term period, the program will have a measurable performance standard from which to be held accountable for success and failure.

OVERSIGHT OF PROJECT:

Those providing funds for this project will be responsible for the administration of their individual contract. With respect to substantive decisions related to the carrying out of contract activities, including the modification or termination of any contract, the relevant funding provider will act at the direction of its own administration.

A designated administrator of the funding provider will maintain oversight of all work performed by the administrative nonprofit partner and/or any designated subcontractor. The funding provider will additionally provide guidance and cooperation vis-a-vis linkage with its social service network.

The administrative nonprofit partner, by quarterly written report, will inform any funding provider of the implementation of planned activities. Quarterly financial reports will be submitted within 30 days following each quarter, until such time as all funds have been expended or the period of availability has expired. Additionally, brief narrative quarterly progress reports will be submitted within 30 days following each quarter. The progress report will provide detailed account of activities undertaken during that quarter (any obstacles encountered during the project's implementation and how these obstacles were addressed, will be identified along with the next quarter's goals). With the Third quarter report, during a full program year, the administrative nonprofit will include an assessment of the program sustainability at the conclusion of the contract, and the level of funding required, if any, to continue program operation into a second, third or fourth year. A draft final report which summarizes project activities and employment outcomes and related results of the program will be submitted no later than the expiration date of the funding. The final report will be submitted no later than 60 days after the funding expiration date.

The funding provider will furnish the administrative nonprofit partner with its procedure for "request for payment." The administrative nonprofit partner will use such procedure to itemize all personnel, project management, and consultant services expenses for the period of the cost report. The Executive Director of the project will list each invoice for personnel, project management, and consultant services, the date of, and period covered by each invoice and the applicable funding source share of that invoice as outlined in the approved cost allocation plan. All invoices must be totaled and that amount must agree with the contracted amount requested for that period of time.

Additionally, the Executive Director will complete a "Contract Status Report" to accompany each "Request for Payment." The administrative nonprofit partner understands that project management expense incurred will not be approved by the finding source unless the request satisfies all requirements described within. "Request for Payments" which do not fulfill all requirements will be returned to the Executive Director for correction. The funding source will not make any corrections. The administrative nonprofit partner agrees to make certain that all "Request for Payments" are complete and accurate prior to submission.

INCOME AND EXPENSES BUDGET:

(To be completed by the administrative nonprofit partner)

FUNDING SCHEDULE:
(To be completed by the administrative nonprofit partner)

CONTACT INFORMATION:
(To be completed by the administrative nonprofit partner)

SAMPLE DEMOGRAPHIC STUDY OF A TARGETED COMMUNITY:

The number of violent crimes in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, recorded by the FBI in 2003 was 209.

The number of murders and homicides was 6.

The violent crime rate was 1.1 per 1,000.

POPULATION:

Total Population 19,196
Square Miles (land) 2.30
Population Per Square Mile 8,335.09

GENDER:

Male 8,439
Female 10.757

AGE:

15 or younger 3,863
16-24 2,093
25-44 5,759
45-64 4,442
65+ 3,039

RACE AND ETHNICITY:

White 5,615
Black 12,768
American Indian/Alaska Nat. 72
Asian 156
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 12
Some Other Race 105
Two or More Races 468
Hispanic or Latino 216



INCOME:

Median Household Income $26,621

Per Capita Income $16,890

PER CAPITA INCOME BY RACE:

White $24,169
Black $13,923
Native American $9,129
Asian $20,599
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander $5,560
Some Other Race $6,314
Two or More Races $14,432
Hispanic or Latino $13,381

HOUSING:

Total Housing Units 10,696
Renter-Occupied Housing 5,346
Rent as a Pct. Revenue 26.8
Median Rent 407

SCHOOL ENROLLMENT:

Population 3 years and over 4,706
Preschool/Kindergarten 495
Grades 1-12 3,146
College 1,065

EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT:

High School Graduates 4,163
Some College/Associate's 3,935
Bachelor's Degree 1,807
Master's, Doctorate Degree 1,152