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Second Jacksonville council panel OKs $1M Jax Journey grant

The Jacksonville Journey is in line to receive almost a million dollars in federal money, via a bill winding its way through City Council committees.

On Monday, the bill got through Neighborhoods, Community Investments, and Services.

On Tuesday, it was Public Health and Safety’s turn. PHS approved the ordinance unanimously.

As per the bill summary: “The ordinance appropriates $999,961.00 from the U.S. Department of Justice for the Jacksonville Journey’s Safe and Thriving Communities Grant,” authorizing cooperation between Jacksonville and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention of the U.S. Department of Justice.

This grant was first announced in the Jax Journey Oversight Committee meeting in late September.

As reported back then, the award of the almost $1 million, a two-year grant, facilitates data analysis regarding the best way of going forward related to at-risk youth.

The first six months will be used for a “steering committee”, via the Juvenile Justice subcommittee of the Journey, and then money will be deployed, including community outreach and identifying families and individuals that have been part of the youth criminal justice system.

On Tuesday in PHS, grant administrator Damien Cook called the grant a “square peg in a square hole,” money “to do what Journey has been doing.”

“We had lots of local dollars being spent on it,” Cook said, “and that’s why we got this one.”

The grant will allow hiring of staff, with contracted services for data analysis.

Councilwoman Joyce Morgan wanted money to be moved to programming, specifically smaller “community-based programs that need assistance,” including “technical assistance they may need to get some of the Journey money.”

Cook emphasized “getting input from the community” is essential to the Journey model.

Committee Chair Sam Newby, the council liaison to the Journey oversight committee, advised training for “smaller organizations” in grant writing “so they can compete for these dollars.”

This bill will be considered by Finance Wednesday morning, ahead of consideration by the full council on Nov. 22.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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