Hamline News

U.S. Department of Justice Grant

A new grant from the U.S. Department of Justice through the Bureau of Justice Assistance will provide funds to implement crime reduction strategies in a unique Minneapolis neighborhood identified as a hotspot for crime. The $846,000 will build on a collaboration between the Little Earth community, Hamline University, and the City of Minneapolis. Based on prior research that identified the major drivers of crime in the area, the grant will implement focused crime reduction strategies, take advantage of opportunities to build more trust with law enforcement, and strengthen the community through better partnerships with the city.

“Hamline’s work with Little Earth started in April of 2016 with a Byrne grant that enabled us to analyze crime and other data, but also forge relationships and have meaningful discussions about what would best serve this community,” said Hamline Criminal Justice Professor Shelly Schaefer, who is helping lead this effort. “This new grant gives us the opportunity to continue to work together and implement some of the solutions we identified through the initial process.”

Little Earth was founded in 1973 to create affordable housing in South Minneapolis and was the first urban housing complex with Native preference. The cultural and socio-economic realities of the neighborhood are unique in the city and require strategies that differ from those in other urban areas. Implementing solutions will take into account issues of crime, chemical dependency, childhood exposure to violence, cultural approaches to conflict and resolution, and the need for an enhanced community space to serve as center point of these efforts.

“We look forward to building on this partnership with Hamline University while implementing the recommendations from the initial grant,” Jolene Jones, interim president/CEO of the Little Earth Residents Association, said. “This process has given us the opportunity to engage with our community in new and meaningful ways in order to find solutions that most are aligned with the needs of our residents. We are excited to see the recommendations become a reality and the positive impacts to our community.”

During the next two years, the grant will fund equipment to improve the Little Earth’s community center in order to provide a space for new youth activities, programs for those with chemical dependency issues, and the Peacemaker Program which draws on Native traditions to resolve conflict. Using funds from the grant, a Grant Coordinator and program staff, including Little Earth community members, will be hired to assist the Little Earth of United Tribes community. The City of Minneapolis attorneys office and the Minneapolis Police Department also serve as cross-sector partners and will work with both Hamline University and Little Earth during the implementation process.

“With the support of the Byrne Grant, Little Earth residents have done groundbreaking community-led research to develop a plan for a future where their neighbors are safe and empowered to lead. I had no doubt that their work would be recognized and that they would win this competitive implementation grant, said Minneapolis Council Member Alondra Cano. “My thanks to the Minneapolis City Attorney’s office and Hamline University but above all this victory belongs to the people of Little Earth.”

The Community Based Crime Reduction (CBCR) grant is part of a large network of federal, place-based and neighborhood revitalization efforts which support local and tribal communities. The program is community-centered and awarded to groups with the goal of improving safety with policies tailored to different neighborhoods.