Gov. Hochul announces new SNUG Street Outreach personnel trained to work in communities to combat gun violence epidemic
The program, part of Gov. Hochul’s overall plan to address the gun violence crisis, focuses on community engagement, including mediating conflict, mentoring youth, and providing counseling and support to manage trauma stemming from of long-term exposure to gun violence. This cadre of 29 street workers, hospital attendants, social workers and case managers is the first to be trained at the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Services State Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany in a 45,000-square-foot warehouse that houses CityScape. A fully built city block with city buildings, a school, a bank, apartments and other real-world features.
While this state-of-the-art location typically serves as a training base for SWAT teams, this week it was reimagined as a new breed of anti-violence tool. Here, SNUG teams can practice roleplay, hands-on practice, and responding to violence on city streets in a real-world environment as opposed to a classroom, bringing a unique and innovative approach to solving this crucial gun violence problem.
The SNUG Street Outreach Program administered by the Status Division of Criminal Justice Services addresses gun violence as a public health issue by identifying the source, disrupting its transmission, and addressing it by engaging individuals and communities to change community norms about violence. Street workers and hospital workers are considered credible ambassadors as many have been involved in the criminal justice system and live in the communities where they work. The State Office for Victim Services provides funds for social workers and case managers at each SNUG location.
Comprehensive training, site visits, and support from DCJS set SNUG apart from other community-based violence disruption programs. New employees must complete 40 hours of training and new supervisors must complete 32 hours of management training. In addition, all employees must complete a 24-hour continuing education program every year. This training and support helps the program work consistently across all SNUG 12 campuses — the other two are in the Bronx and Wyandanch — despite being run by different community-based organizations.
Including the employees trained this week, 138 employees will now be working in government-sponsored SNUG programs. Recruitment and hiring of additional SNUG personnel at all 12 locations and Violence Disruption programs in New York City continue, made possible by a $8.2 million government investment announced by Governor Hochul last fall.
Gov. Hochul’s proposed FY23 budget will triple gun violence resources, expand the state’s SNUG network to Utica, Schenectady and Niagara Falls, and invest $24.9 million to maintain and expand community-based gun violence initiatives that Reduce gunfire and save lives by:
- Funding for community violence specialists in the state’s 22 trauma centers
- Expansion of SNUG from 12 to 15 communities with the addition of Niagara Falls, Schenectady and Utica
- Piloting an initiative to increase participation in programs by helping to meet the basic needs of vulnerable young people
- Provide competency-based pre-employment and internship training for youth attending SNUG
- Build on DCJS’ extensive training of SNUG workers by launching a nation-first program to recruit and retain outreach workers to overcome a key barrier to expanding community-based violence prevention efforts