For Immediate Release: July 21, 2021
Contact on behalf of Alliance for Safety and Justice: [email protected]
IN ADVANCE OF CITY BUDGET HEARING, NEW REPORT URGES CITIES IN TEXAS TO USE ARP FUNDING TO SUPPORT VICTIMS AND PROMOTE PUBLIC SAFETY
Analysis Outlines How Recovery Funds Can Be Used to End Cycles of Crime and Address Trauma from Violence
AUSTIN – With the Austin City Council accepting public comments on the city budget this week, the Alliance for Safety and Justice (ASJ) today released a new report on how Texas cities can use American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to address the needs of crime victims and improve public safety. The new report provides analysis to help advocates, lawmakers, and stakeholders as localities begin determinations on how to use the $26 billion allocated to Texas as part of the ARP’s recovery funds.
The report includes key policy recommendations for cities like Austin to implement with available funds, with the goal of reducing violence and making communities safer. The availability of billions in ARP funds presents an unprecedented opportunity to make much-needed investments in public health programming, address the recent rise in violence across the state, and build the necessary infrastructure to promote the safety of all Texans. The report recommendations include:
- Establish trauma recovery centers that are widely available in highly victimized and underserved communities and fund community-based victim service providers
- Invest in a new mechanism to fund probation and replenish victim compensation and reentry funds
- Fund research, evaluation, and infrastructure to support and help sustain ARP Recovery Funds’ investments.
“Texans across every community are calling for solutions to the violence that has impacted too many lives, and this is a chance for investments in proven approaches that work,” said Terra Tucker, Texas State Director for Alliance for Safety and Justice. “We’ve made tremendous progress in expanding support for victims and ensuring that we address trauma, but now we can scale up like never before. Every Texan deserves to feel safe, and ARP recovery funds can address the root causes of crime, end cycles of violence, and provide the necessary tools for healing. This is our opportunity to make Texas safer for all.”
“First and foremost, crime victims like me want to make our communities safer and to save lives, and the American Rescue Plan has the potential to do that and so much more,” said Clarence Watson, a member of the Austin chapter of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, ASJ’s national network of crime victims advocating for healing communities. “Texas provides a system of help for victims, but more work must be done to provide adequate support while improving public safety across the state. Establishing Trauma Recovery Centers – while investing in victim compensation – will help address the trauma that has plagued communities. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to implement common sense policies that work. We urge our elected officials to stand with us in investing in our safety.”
During this past legislative session, ASJ led the advocacy for two successful bills aimed at improving outcomes for crime survivors and increasing safety across the state. SB 957 ensures that traumatized victims’ eligibility for compensation is not jeopardized or delayed by their inability to speak about the incident while in the midst of recovering in a hospital or in the immediate aftermath of a crime. HB 385 reforms the state’s probation system, ensuring that Texans on probation are able to focus on rehabilitation, while creating safer communities and saving taxpayer money.
The full report, The American Rescue Plan: Three Ways Texas Can Use American Rescue Plan Recovery Funds to Support Victims and Promote Public Safety, can be found here.