State Grants Awarded to Methuen, Lawrence, Haverhill to Combat Youth Gang Violence

The cities of Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill have been named recipients of funding from the Commonwealth’s Shannon Community Safety Initiative to address regional youth gang violence.

The competitive Shannon program is designed to support approaches to and create strategies for reducing youth gang violence, such as community policy, youth mentoring and improving relationships among families, law enforcement and school faculty.

The City of Lawrence has received $214,700 in funding, while the cities of Methuen and Haverhill will share $130,000. Additionally, UMass Lowell has received $98,858, including $26,953 to the Haverhill/Methuen site, $26,953 to the Lawrence site and $44,952 to the Lowell site.

Funds are administered by the Commonwealth’s Executive Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security.

“Receiving the Shannon Grant again this year allows us to continue our community education program and Safe Haven homework center in the Arlington Neighborhood,” said Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon. “Together with the community and this funding we are providing children who are at risk with an alternative to a gang lifestyle.”
“This funding will allow us to expand and enhance our gang resistance initiative by adding a rehabilitation component to include job skills training,” said Haverhill Police Chief Alan DeNaro. “We believe no enforcement solution will succeed long term without an educational component.”

“These important funds will empower our communities in continued efforts to engage at-risk youth and provide them with a direction away from gang activity,” said State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen). “I look forward to working closely alongside our incredible local law enforcement and community-based partners in confronting these serious problems.”

“Shannon Grant funding has been essential to Haverhill’s efforts to address gang violence in our city,” said State Representative Andy Vargas (D-Haverhill). “We know that through effective prevention and community-based intervention strategies, we can provide young people with positive opportunities and outcomes.”