Mayor Bianchi Announces "Pittsfield Community Connection" Funded By The Shannon Grant

Today Mayor Bianchi announced Pittsfield Community Connection, a program aimed at addressing the underlying issues that lead youth to become involved in criminal and gang activity. The program is funded by the Shannon Grant, a state grant targeting youth and gang violence.

Pittsfield Community Connection will reinforce the City’s community development resources in the most vulnerable neighborhoods, especially those with high crime rates and high levels of unemployment. The City is partnering with community service organizations to provide neighborhood based opportunities in academics, arts, athletics, and employment.

A central element of Pittsfield Community Connection includes neighborhood based councils to support parents and caretakers. Community Connection is also in the process of hiring an outreach worker who will work with youth between 14-24 years old. Both outlets aim to ensure parents and youth have the resources they need related to academics, job training, and other activities.

As part of Community Connection, funds will also be provided to the ‘Bridging the Gap’ program of the Salvation Army and to the Pittsfield Police Department for increased police presence in “hot spots” with high levels of reported crime.

Mayor Dan Bianchi said “this program will play an important role in the effort to get ahead of the challenging summer months when crime activity may increase. I am confident that this initiative, partnering with various community groups can have a positive impact on the lives of young people in Pittsfield and ultimately create a safer community.” There were four gang related shootings in Pittsfield last summer.

Program Coordinator Adam Hinds emphasized, “This issue impacts everyone; including through multiple gun related arrests at high schools in Pittsfield this year. Enforcement is a major part of addressing youth and gang violence. Community Connection also emphasizes prevention and interventions focused on those already involved in gangs; otherwise there is a risk of addressing a symptom while ignoring underlying problems.”

The City of Pittsfield has advertised for the Community Connection Outreach Worker and the deadline to apply is Friday April 25th.

For more information refer to the city’s website at www.cityofpittsfield.org