Over the past year, the United States has seen the collision of two major public health crises – Covid-19 and gun violence. Unfortunately, Kansas City has seen the deadly impact of these crises firsthand. Despite some efforts by community groups and government agencies, Kansas City struggles with violent crime and gun violence in particular. Kansas City’s homicide rate has continually increased during the past five years, with a record 176 homicides and 630 non-fatal shootings occurring in 2020 alone. The disproportionate impact of both the virus and gun violence in Kansas City reflects persistent racial inequities and underscores the need for meaningful community-centered programs, policy, and financial investments in historically underserved communities.
With this in mind, Kansas City is working with federal authorities and community partners to revive and broaden its violence prevention and intervention strategies to address the city’s epidemic of violent crime. Kansas City will partner with FUSE Corps to support holistically scaling and implementing violence intervention programs associated with their public safety partnership program. The FUSE Executive Fellow will support the coordination, refinement, and assessment of current programming, understand the level and type of violence intervention services still needed, and work with state and local officials to streamline victim-witness support services. The Executive Fellow will ensure the programs are sustainably funded, maximizing the benefits of neighborhood-based and social services violence intervention programs for years to come.