Pittsfield Receives Largest Youth Grant in City History

Pittsfield Receives Largest Youth Grant in City History

Mayor Bianchi is proud to announce that Pittsfield has been awarded a Safe and Successful Youth Initiative (SSYI) grant.  The SSYI grant is the largest youth grant ever received by Pittsfield. 

Bianchi commented, “The young people of Pittsfield represent the future of our community. I have always enjoyed spending time with and supporting youth initiatives perhaps more than any other aspect of the job.  This grant, which will ultimately add up to just under $5 million dollars, is a game changer for Pittsfield.  We will finally have the resources needed to target a population of young people who are susceptible to violence and gang involvement.  The resources we have secured will allow us to address challenging societal issues facing these young people.”

He added, “Our community and our country are experiencing an alarming trend of youth violence.  I have always believed that Pittsfield is unique in that we are a city with small town sensibilities and values.  Residents help each other.  The SSYI grant will allow us to partner with community agencies to help our youth. It will provide resources that will target the actual needs of this population make our city a safer community.”

The SSYI grant spans ten years. Pittsfield has been awarded $350,000 for FY16 and then $500,000 per fiscal year for the remaining time with the grant.  The SSYI grant will focus on proven-risk males between the ages of 17-24.  Behavioral health counseling, education certification support, tiered subsidized employment and training along with partnering with outreach workers are all requirements for the young men involved in the SSYI program.

Pittsfield Community Connection will be the lead agency for the SSYI grant.  PCC also is the lead agency for the Shannon Grant and receives additional funding from the United Way Grant and private donations. The Pittsfield Police Department will be the primary source identifying youth eligible for the program.

Scott Murray the Interim Program Director said this is a critical addition to the city of Pittsfield’s services focusing on helping our proven risk youth find other options that will make them and our city safer and more prosperous.

Adam Hinds, the past program director for Pittsfield Community Connection and current Steering Committee Chair, said, “This is exactly what the city needs. Violence was escalating when we applied for this last summer. The program focuses on youth in the city who have had significant issues with the law. Working through the police means ensuring targeted behavioral counseling, and expanding hope gained from jobs, education and community support.”

An inaugural meeting of partners took place on Thursday, December 10th.  Core partners include the Police Department, Berkshire Works, and The Brien Center.  Others partners include the Sheriff’s Office, Court Probation Offices, the School Department, the Fenn Street Development Corporation, Goodwill, and others. SSYI grant leaders are looking to expand all partnerships beneficial to the grant.