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Building Safe and Healthy Communities

Updated: Feb 9, 2022

Neighbors are afraid and demanding justice - we must confront violence now. Zachary has long championed what we know actually works: a whole-city, public health approach to reducing harm.

We build healthy communities by giving them adequate resources and infrastructure: healthy food, clean water, permanently affordable housing, and mental health services

The Building Blocks program is a step in the right direction: communicate between agencies and infuse social services to disrupt patterns of violence. However, our city’s implementation has lacked the coordination, transparency, and community outreach needed to move beyond the ineffective status quo.

1st level: Right now

Responding to Violence

  • Dispatch mobile crisis intervention and trauma units with professional teams to hotspots experiencing an increase in violence (OUC, DBH, ONSE)

  • Dispatch credible messengers street teams and additional violence interrupters to mentor, intervene, diffuse tensions, and learn through relationship-building (ONSE, OAG, DYRS)

  • Cleaning up the streets, literally: abating nuisance properties, redesigning streetscapes, adding lighting (DPW, OTR, DDOT)

  • Investigate and stop the flow of guns from outside our community, while allowing affected families to sue corporate manufacturers and ghost gun makers (MPD, ATF)

  • Provide longterm supports to victims and their families while holding those who commit violence accountable with interventions that work: counseling, skill-building, and requiring them to repair the harm they’ve done

2nd level: Short-term

Preventing Harm

  • Invest in street-based mental health and addiction-support teams, while making our 911 system more accessible for deaf neighbors (DBH, ONSE, OUC, ODDHH)

  • Hire youth and returning citizens to paid (“green”) jobs, services, and mentorships (DPR, ONSE, OAG, DOES, CSOSA, DYRS)

  • Expand extracurricular and professional programs at middle and high schools to increase student engagement and retention (DME, DCPS, DCPCSB, OSSE)

  • Support victims through services, counseling, and restorative justice (ONSE, OAG, DYRS)

  • Equip community members with mental health resources to help keep their communities safe (ONSE, DBH, DYRS)

  • Strengthen safe passage supports for all public school students (DME, ONSE, OAG)

3rd level: Long-term

Stopping Cycles of Trauma & Hopelessness

  • Increase financial stability through good-paying jobs and guaranteed income, healthcare, and housing (DHS, OTR, DHCF, DOES)

  • Investing in lifelong learning by fulfilling on universal pre-K, strengthening equity in K-12, making UDC free, and continued learning opportunities for adults (DME, DCPS, DCPCSB, OSSE, UDC, DCPL)

  • Reimagine schools, libraries, and recreation centers as safe hubs for trauma-informed resources, mutual aid, and healthcare (DME, DCPS, DCPCSB, OSSE, DYRS, DCPL, DPW, DBH)

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