Washington, D.C. — The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 is continuing to have a meaningful impact on community safety efforts nationwide as cities and states look for opportunities to address violent crime. A new issue brief released today from the Center for American Progress specifically highlights how states and cities nationwide are using ARPA funding to create community responder programs. These programs not only alleviate the burden on law enforcement, but they also show promising results that more comprehensively meet the unique needs of communities and individuals in crisis.
“Law enforcement should not be expected to be experts in behavioral health, substance use, and homelessness,” said Akua Amaning, director of Criminal Justice Reform at CAP and author of the brief. “Communities are already seeing the benefits of community responder programs, and it’s critical that more states and cities leverage ARPA funding to implement similar strategies to more effectively respond to emergency situations by prioritizing health and safety.”
The brief outlines several examples from state and city governments, including:
- Atlanta’s Policing Alternatives and Diversion Initiative, which provides community responder and prearrest diversion services for individuals experiencing issues around mental health, substance use, and homelessness.
- Boston’s Mental Health Response Pilot Program, which aims to increase the role of mental health workers while decreasing the role of police in mental health crisis response.
- Colorado’s Public Safety Plan, which creates grant programs that help establish community-specific alternative crisis response programs across the state.
Click here to read: “ARPA Funds Continue to Support Community Safety Efforts Through Community Responder Programs” by Akua Amaning
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