ST. LOUIS — The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis announced the launch of an "intensive" outreach initiative in the city’s Walnut Park neighborhood area, which includes Walnut Park East and Walnut Park West.
Walnut Park has one of the highest poverty rates in the city and is experiencing an increase in crime rates, according to a news release.
Just Wednesday afternoon, three people were shot and killed in the neighborhood.
The "Serving Our Streets" initiative is designed to address some of the primary factors that contribute to crime in the area. The initiative will “bring together diverse service partners and programs to help stabilize the area, block by block," the release stated.
Partners include the YWCA of Metro St. Louis, Black Alcohol/Drug Service Information Center (BASIC) and The St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment (SLATE). The Urban League said it will provide support through its Federation of Block Units, the Save Our Sons program and Grills to Glory program.
The Urban League also recently received a $750,000 grant for the Cure Violence program, targeting the Walnut Park area.
This is the first large-scale safety initiative under the Urban League’s Division of Public Safety and Community Response, headed by James Clark.
Clark said the Federation of Block Units will play a critical role in the new initiative by working with neighborhood churches to "increase the number of block units and strengthening engagement."
“The importance of the block units cannot be overstated,” Clark said. “The top priority of the Division of Public Safety is neighborhood stabilization. Crime reduction depends largely on our ability to organize blocks. The driving force behind this effort is the Federation of Block Units.”
The Federation of Block Units is attempting to recruit 100 churches to serve as meeting spaces for neighborhood residents, according to the release.