The Salisbury Police Department has been awarded a $270,000 federal Law Enforcement-Based Victim Specialist grant from the Office of Victims of Crimes.
The new grant funding allows Salisbury Police to hire a homeless advocate position, similar to the Project Safe Neighborhoods coordinator, who will work with the homeless population to reduce their crime victimization due to their situation. The specialist also will help locate stable housing and address other community challenges to reduce the homeless population.
Homelessness is a growing community issue for Salisbury,” said Salisbury Police Chief Jerry Stokes. “In our interactions with those community members, we noticed they tended to be victimized more frequently. That realization, coupled with what seemed to be an uptick in the number of homeless people, the police department sought a solution to assist resolving both their victimization and situation that led to their unstable housing. We were fortunate to be granted a civilian position within the department that will serve as a caseworker connecting the many services in Rowan County with the people in need to prevent future victimization and stabilize their housing situation.”
Salisbury is one of 22 recipients nationwide, and the only one from North Carolina, to receive more than $8.6 million to develop or enhance crime victim specialist programs within law enforcement agencies. The goal is to better support victims through the criminal justice process. Another $2 million is earmarked for one organization to support training and technical assistance for the grantees.
The department will advertise for the position in the near future.