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June 18, 2009

U.S. House O.K.’s Funding for New York Youth Groups

Bill includes measure to increase reporting and prosecution of hate crimes

Washington, DC – The U.S. House of Representatives today approved $700,000 to benefit youth development efforts in New York’s 12th Congressional District.  The funding included in the Fiscal Year 2010 Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) Appropriations bill was designated under the Department of Justice’s Juvenile Justice Program.  Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.) hailed the resources as providing vital support to programs that give at-risk, New York City youth the opportunity to excel in school and the community.  

“Effective youth programs help New York City children and teens overcome the pressures they face daily.  The funding in this bill will give local groups resources to help our youth prepare for their future successes,” Velázquez said.

The funding Velázquez secured in the CJS bill will benefit three important projects in New York’s 12th Congressional District:

  • Good Shepherd Services: $250,000 to support year-round, after-school programs for at-risk youth to promote individual, family and community development. 
  • Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services: $350,000 to enhance the social and emotional functioning of at-risk youth in elementary and high schools and prevent at-risk behaviors that often lead to addiction and violence, as well as to train counselors and other school employees.
  • Kentler International Drawing Space, Inc.: $100,000 to support and expand arts education programs for at-risk children and teenagers in Brooklyn. 

In addition, Congresswoman Velazquez helped ensure the CJS bill includes important public safety measures that will increase the reporting and prosecution of hate crimes.  The legislation sets aside $8 million so that civil rights violations, including hate crimes, are investigated and criminals are held responsible for their heinous acts.  The bill also directs the Bureau of Justice Assistance to study the potential for establishing a national helpline for hate crimes victims.  Earlier this month, Velázquez co-sponsored H.R. 2684, the National Hate Crimes Hotline Act of 2009, to increase the reporting of hate crimes through the creation of a national hotline.

“New Yorkers have felt first-hand the impact that hate crimes can have on a community.  We need to provide a safe place for victims to find help, and increase resources for local efforts to end hate and prevent these horrific acts,” Velázquez said.

The legislation must now be approved in the U.S. Senate.

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