Haverhill, Methuen Among Cities Receiving State Anti-Gang Grants

Mass. State House

(File photograph.)

Haverhill, Methuen and Lawrence are again this year receiving state grants aimed at reducing gang violence.

State Reps. Diana DiZoglio and Andy Vargas said Wednesday Haverhill and Methuen will share $130,000 from Commonwealth’s Shannon Community Safety Initiative, while Lawrence will receive $214,700. Last year, Haverhill received $82,667 by itself and that amount was $30,000 less than the year before.

UMass Lowell was awarded $98,858, including $26,953 to Haverhill and Methuen site, $26,953 to the Lawrence site and $44,952 to the Lowell site. The money comes from the state Executive Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security. The grants were welcomed by both Haverhill Police Chief Alan R. DeNaro and Methuen Chief Joseph E. Solomon.

“This funding will allow us to expand and enhance our gang resistance initiative by adding a rehabilitation component to include job skills training,” said DeNaro, adding, “We believe no enforcement solution will succeed long term without an educational component.” Solomon said Methuen’s share will be used for a community education program and Safe Haven homework center in the Arlington Neighborhood.

DiZoglio, whose office first made the announcement, said, “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.”

Vargas added, “We know that through effective prevention and community-based intervention strategies, we can provide young people with positive opportunities and outcomes.”

The Shannon program encourages anti-gang violence programs such as community policy, youth mentoring and improving relationships among families, law enforcement and school faculty.