Future funding in question for Louisville’s Office of Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods | News

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — At least 12 people were hurt this past weekend because of gun violence.

Louisville Metro’s Office of Safe and Health Neighborhoods (OSHN) is tasked with curbing such violence at a grassroots level, but the majority of its budget will run out.

OSHN said a majority of its programs are funded by money from the American Rescue Plan, a federal relief program created during the COVID-19 pandemic. But that money will run out in just over two years, and Metro Council wants to know what’s working before deciding if, and how much, it will continue to fund in the future. 

Walter Murrah is a Louisville native, born and raised, now working in the city‘s California neighborhood. He is the project manager for St. George’s Scholar Institute. Murrah’s organization is one of the several grassroots organizations OSHN has supported to curb violence. 

“Our organization is largely about meeting the youth where they are,” Murrah said. “I think it’s important that one, people be diligent about figuring out like who’s doing the work, you know, is the work impactful.”

Figuring out if the office’s work is impactful, and making a difference in numbers, is what some Metro Council members want OSHN to prove, and asked about them during Monday’s Metro Council budget hearing.

“Can you help me understand what are the actual specific, measurable outcomes that OSHN should be accountable to,” said Anthony Piagentini, R-19.

Mayor Craig Greenberg’s proposed budget for Fiscal year 2023-24 lists an additional $1 million in federal funding for OSHN, and $45,000 from the city’s budget.

OSHN Director Paul Callanan said the city’s money will hire a data analyst, while federal funding will pay to hire two policy analysts.

“What they’ll be looking at is all the projects going on in the city that OSHN is involved in with intervention prevention, determining whether those projects are successful, achieving their desirable outcomes,” Callanan said.

Callanan said OSHN’s programs are funded roughly 60% by American Rescue Plan dollars, and 40% by the city. The ARP funding will run out in 2026. 

Callanan said its’ analysts will use the data it collects to prove where its work is most effective in crime reduction.

“We want to be in a position to give the best recommendation what programs are effective,” he said. 

Greenberg’s budget proposes $1.1 billion in spending to cover a wide range, OSHN is just one part.

The council will continue to make changes before voting in June, and taking effect in July. 

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