OAKLAND, CA – Today, Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao joined City and community leaders to announce a groundbreaking partnership with the City’s Department of Violence Prevention (DVP) to establish the department’s first-ever satellite location in the vibrant Fruitvale neighborhood. This collaborative initiative represents a significant step toward fostering community safety, addressing violence, and promoting healing within one of Oakland's most culturally rich and diverse communities.
"Community safety is my top priority as Oakland’s Mayor, and that’s why I’m so thrilled to open this new community hub in the Fruitvale district,” said Mayor Sheng Thao. “This partnership will enable our Department of Violence Prevention teams to expand their important work and provide services and resources where they are needed most. By working together to establish this satellite location, we hope to make meaningful strides in preventing violence and fostering a stronger, safer, and more vibrant Oakland.”
The Unity Council (TUC), a nonprofit organization deeply committed to advancing social and economic equity in the East Bay, has joined forces with the DVP, a key City department dedicated to reducing violence and supporting victims in the City of Oakland. Together, they aim to create a safer and more resilient Fruitvale community through a comprehensive community-based violence prevention and intervention approach.
Chris Iglesias, Unity Council CEO, expressed his excitement about this partnership, stating, “Creating vibrant and safe communities is part of the Unity Council’s history and mission. This partnership blossomed as a result of the Public Safety Summit we hosted in April 2023 where we heard from our community about the safety challenges and the need to think creatively to nurture a safer Fruitvale. As owners of the Fruitvale Transit Village, a nationally recognized transit-oriented development in the heart of Oakland, our staff worked diligently to make this partnership happen. By uniting our expertise and resources with the Department of Violence Prevention and the City of Oakland, we aim to create lasting positive change in one of Oakland's most culturally rich and diverse communities.”
DVP Interim Chief Kentrell Killens shared his enthusiasm, stating, “This partnership with the Unity Council will create a community home base for the DVP’s crisis responders, family coaches, and community engagement team members, which will enhance their safety and allow them to more easily connect with the individuals and families we serve.”
Key components of this partnership include:
Client meetings: Recognizing the lasting impact of violence on individuals and communities, DVP provides intensive coaching to high-risk individuals and their families in order to strengthen communication and problem-solving among family members and reduce the entire family’s risk for violence. Family coaches will use the space as a hub to meet participants and their families. DVP also employs community engagement team (CET) members who perform outreach to individuals and families in hot spot areas to proactively mediate conflicts and engage individuals in services, deliver cognitive behavioral skills training, and connect individuals to needed services. CET members will use the satellite hub as a space to deploy from and perform check-ins with community members.
Violence interruption deployment: DVP coordinates a 24/7 response to shooting and homicide scenes that aims to reduce retaliatory group/network-related violence, reduce the levels of trauma experienced by individuals, families, and impacted community members, and improve police-community relationships. The DVP internal crisis response team is composed of eight individuals, with three specifically dedicated to responding to gender-based violence (GBV) related incidents. Crisis responders will use the space as a hub to deploy from.
Community Engagement: The partnership with the Unity Council will prioritize community engagement and involvement, ensuring the Fruitvale merchants, organizations, and residents have a voice in shaping the violence prevention strategies that directly impact their lives. Regular merchant meetings, space activations, job fairs, and outreach efforts will be organized to foster a sense of ownership and empowerment within the community.
About the Oakland Department of Violence Prevention: The Department of Violence Prevention is a vital city agency dedicated to reducing violence and promoting healing and safety in the city of Oakland. Through innovative programs, community partnerships, and evidence-based strategies, DVP strives to create a city where all residents can live free from violence and fear.
About The Unity Council: The Unity Council is a nonprofit community development corporation committed to advancing social equity and improving the quality of life for diverse communities in the East Bay. For over 50 years, TUC has worked tirelessly to provide affordable housing, economic development, educational support, and community engagement programs to empower individuals and create safe and vibrant neighborhoods where everyone can work, learn, and thrive.
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