• Support and Outreach

    The National Network has begun to frame a new "support and outreach" structure carefully tailored to the core street population, its situation, and its needs.

About the Innovation
Tools & Guides

A key principle of the National Network for Safe Communities is to offer help to the core population of high-risk people on the street. The National Network has typically framed this component of its strategies as “social services.” However, despite the best efforts of all concerned, it has shown little impact on violence reduction or improving the lives of group members. Working with its national partners, the National Network has begun to frame a new “support and outreach” structure carefully tailored to the core street population, its situation, and its needs. The core street population the National Network engages is both the most active and the most vulnerable to be found. Addressing homicide and serious violence means addressing them, but existing social service practices simply do not work for this population.

The National Network and its partners have developed and begun to implement a new support and outreach structure with the following characteristics:

  • Keeping people alive and out of prison. This structure will create a comprehensive partnership of providers with an explicit goal of keeping offenders alive, unhurt, and out of prison, and formal tracking and metrics commensurate with that goal (rather than, for example, job placement and retention alone).  This will include an overall recognition that movement in that direction is progress, and positive (rather than, for example, that not getting or keeping a job is “failure”).
  • Providing affirmative outreach. The structure will include deliberate outreach to offenders to foster new relationships and community; mentorship from ex-offenders to help transition out of the street life through street outreach work and peer “recovery groups” and to share experiences and build bridges to legitimate participation in the community.
  • Offering protection from risk. The Group Violence Intervention is designed to, and does, greatly reduce violence. But this requires that tactics be in place to circumvent violent situations as they arise and protect those who are at risk.  This means shielding potential victims and, where possible, dissuading prospective perpetrators. ​
  • Addressing trauma. As group members attempt to leave behind destructive lifestyles, they are often held back by the trauma of their past experiences. NNSC’s outreach and support structure will recognize, honor and address trauma by developing treatment resources, post-homicide support, and peer “recovery group” settings for sharing and debriefing.
  • Providing the "big small stuff." The structure will include the ability to address emergency needs and provide low-level but critical resources not commonly taken seriously and budgeted for – what we have started to call “the big small stuff.” Often, these overlooked necessities hold group members back from successfully transitioning into a productive and non-violent lifestyle.  Examples of “ the big small stuff” include clearing outstanding warrants, licensing and ID assistance, help acquiring interview attire and work uniforms, assistance with medical costs including copay and prescriptions, transportation, emergency housing and food assistance, funeral costs, and help with navigating bureaucracy.
  • Traditional services. NNSC’s support and outreach emphasizes a social services structure that is carefully tailored to the situation and needs of the  core street population. These services include housing assistance, utility assistance, food pantries, and referrals to outside providers.

This new direction was built to assist those social service partners who do this work most intensively and to support the core population that they aim to serve. Dropping a still-active gang member into a job training program is a prescription for failure, but wrapping him up in the web of offerings and relationships envisioned in this structure holds great promise.

With support from the Jacob & Valeria Langeloth Foundation, the National Network is now working with cities to implement this new structure within the greater strategic framework.Click below to learn more about this new framework through the work of our Langeloth partner cities:

Support & Outreach White Paper

This white paper outlines a new "support and outreach" structure carefully tailored to the core street population, it's situation, and its needs. 

Cincinnati Support & Outreach

The Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV) has become a model for implementing our innovative support and outreach framework. 

News & Updates

New Haven interim police chief cites ‘collaborative effort’ for decrease in crime

January 2017  |  New Haven Register  

Project Longevity and our partners in New Haven are playing a substantial role in crime reduction. 

Tags: New Haven Support and Outreach Support and Outreach

Taking Back the Neighborhood with an Army of Moms

August 2016  |  Great Big Story  

"The neighborhood of Englewood on Chicago's South Side is among the most dangerous in the country...This is about a group of mothers who are standing up to the violence with the type of stern love only moms can provide."

Tags: Chicago Support and Outreach Support and Outreach

Cook: Traumatic stress is changing the brains of children in Chattanooga

August 2016  |  Chattanooga Times Free Press  

Trauma may be a top public health priority and developing new solutions to help people cope may reduce violent crime. 

Tags: Chattanooga Support and Outreach Support and Outreach

Broken windows is broken: study shows that a more focused approach to tackling street violence can b

July 2016  |  USAPP– American Politics and Policy  

"New thinking about policing instead uses an approach which focuses resources on the small number of people who drive street violence. Michael Sierra-Arevalo and researchers at Yale University analyze one such initiative – Project Longevity – in New Haven, Connecticut. They find that the program can be linked to a significant reduction in the monthly number of group member shootings and homicides."

Tags: New Haven Support and Outreach Support and Outreach

 Want to Make America Safe? Here Are 5 Ways to Do That.

July 2016  |  The Nation  

" Some advice from communities that really are facing violent crime."

Tags: ReconciliationStrategic ProsecutionSupport and Outreach ReconciliationStrategic ProsecutionSupport and Outreach

Stockton police reach out to Latino community

July 2016  |  Stockton Record  

"Every Wednesday for six weeks, self-proclaimed community leader Zoyla Moreno attended the Stockton Police Department’s “first of its kind” Spanish-language citizens police academy." ALMENDRA CARPIZO/THE RECORD 

Tags: Stockton Support and Outreach Support and Outreach

Local organization holds event with police, children who lost parents to violence

July 2016  |  WPXI News  

"The Tree of Hope organized an event for children who lost parents to violence to help the children grow up with a positive relationship with the police."

Tags: Pittsburgh Support and Outreach Support and Outreach

One year out

July 2016  |  Washington Post  

"On July 13, 2015, President Obama commuted the prison sentences of 46 nonviolent drug offenders. Here’s what their lives are like now."

Tags: Strategic ProsecutionSupport and Outreach Strategic ProsecutionSupport and Outreach

Big Community Projects Underway for ISAAC

July 2016  |  WMUK  

"Community involvement and acting on issues is the mission of the group ISAAC in Kalamazoo. It recently held its 15th anniversary banquet to celebrate several projects and look ahead to the future."

Tags: Support and Outreach Support and Outreach


“[GVI] has changed engagement from 3% to almost 85%. It was a huge turnaround; we are building a relationship with a population that we have struggled to build a relationship with.”

-Deanna Hoskins, Director, Office of Re-Entry, Hamilton County, OH