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Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announces a $4 million youth reinvestment fund to end gun violence among youth

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) – Harris County leaders will discuss crime prevention at a press conference today. This time it comes with a big price tag.

The focus of the new $4 million youth reinvestment fund is on eliminating gun violence before it occurs by focusing on children and putting money back into grassroots organizations that can help at-risk youth.

Judge Lina Hidalgo will join Commissioner Rodney Ellis and other local leaders on Thursday afternoon to announce the fund. ABC13 will stream the event live at 1pm in the video player above

“Research consistently shows that investing in early childhood intervention for at-risk youth effectively reduces the likelihood of young people becoming adult offenders later in life and saves taxpayers’ money in the long run,” Hidalgo’s office said in a press release.

This comes at a time when gun violence among children is at an all-time high.

According to the New England Journal, total gun deaths increased 13.1% from 2019 to 2020. For those aged 1 to 19, it increased by 30%.

Over 4,000 children died from gun-related deaths during that time, according to the New England Journal.

The CDC now says gun violence was the number one cause of death among youth in the United States in 2020.

It’s a stark change in the country where car accidents have been the number one cause for 60 years.

During the press conference, Judge Hidalgo and Commissioner Ellis plan to appoint the non-profit organization Change Happens as administrator of the new fund.

Arlene Alvarez, just 9 years old, was shot dead on Valentine’s Day while sitting in the back of her family’s truck, caught in the midst of gun violence unrelated to her family.

READ MORE: Mom of 9-year-old shot dead in ATM robbery opens up: ‘I didn’t scream loud enough’

“The robber and suspect number two shot at each other. What has my husband done? He just went for it,” said Gwen Alvarez, Arlene’s mother. “And that’s when the gunman, Earls, stopped firing at the robber and just aimed at us. He just started shooting at us.”

The press release states that Change Happens is a local non-profit organization with decades of experience in mentoring, educating and mentoring at-risk youth. It will work with other grassroots organizations across the county engaged in evidence-based work to manage funding and provide technical assistance and other community support.

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https://abc13.com/youth-reinvestment-fund-harris-county-judge-lina-hidalgo-change-happens-crime-prevention/11820071/ Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announces a $4 million youth reinvestment fund to end gun violence among youth

Dais Johnston

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