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Clean ups, camera surveillance and block parties were some of the projects honored at the Neighborhood Rising Funds awards breakfast on May 18. But a project supporting advocacy for victims of sex trafficking also gained a lot of attention.
Veronica’s Voice was awarded $3,000 to support its project - Kansas City Coalition Against Sexual Exploitation (KC-CASE). The coalition is partnering with the Northeast Kansas City, Kansas neighborhood associations and Kansas City, Kansas Police Department Northeast Patrol to launch a sex trafficking education and awareness campaign. Neighborhood associations on the city’s Northeast side have identified human trafficking as a major issue. The groups are working with Veronica’s Voice to provide trainings, outreach, and consultation services from national experts on demand reduction and neighborhood revitalization.
Bloom said the initiative came about when neighbors started noticing suspicious activity in the community. For example, community members reported bus stops, vacant buildings and businesses being used for pickups and meet ups.
“We’re bringing together neighborhood leaders and looking at opportunities for prevention, intervention, communication and restorative efforts,” said Lucy Bloom, Executive Director of Veronica’s Voice. “Eventually we believe we can work together to make changes to laws so we can stop commercial sexual exploitation of children and adults.”
Veronica’s Voice was founded 18 years ago and its mission is “To empower women to exit from, to prevent the entry into, and to end all demand for prostitution-sex trafficking in the United States through survivor leadership.”
A partnership between LISC of Greater Kansas City and Community Capital Fund, the Neighborhoods Rising Fund (NRF) annually provides grants up to $3,000 for community-driven and neighborhood-led revitalization projects and initiatives in low- to moderate- income areas throughout the Greater Kansas City region. This year’s fund supported a record number of projects - 37 grants totaling $91,156.
New in 2018 10 neighborhoods will participate in Cameras for Good, a new program that seeks to build safer communities and deeper connections between neighbors and the police development. A collaboration between COMBAT, Connecting for Good, and LISC, Cameras for Good will provide programming and infrastructure for a neighborhood-based surveillance camera program and support neighborhoods in building a network of block watches that utilize cameras in violent crime hotspots and problem areas. NRF funding would cover the costs of hardware and some ancillary costs for safety-related events.
The following is an overview of neighborhood associations awarded NRF for projects:
Camera Surveillance: Blue Hills Neighborhood Association, Blue Valley Neighborhood Association, Center City Neighborhood Council, Independence Plaza Neighborhood Council, Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council, Ruskin Heights Homes Association, Santa Fe Area Council, Scarritt Renaissance Neighborhood Association, Washington Wheatley Neighborhood Improvement Association.
Neighborhood Clean Up: Douglas/Sumner Neighborhood Association, East Meyer Cluster Organization, Foxtown East Neighborhood Association, Foxtown West Neighborhood Association, McCoy Park Neighbors Association, Noble Homes Association, Patterson Highlands Neighborhood, Sunset Dixon Neighborhood Association, Swope Parkway-Elmwood Neighborhood Association.
Block Party/Neighborhood Celebration: Central Avenue Betterment Association, Chaumiere Neighborhood Association, Chestnut Avenue Resource Center, Citadel Homeowners Association, East 23rd Street PAC Neighborhood Association, Prescott Neighborhood Group, Swope Parkway-Elmwood Neighborhood Association.
Arts/Gardening: Armourdale Renewal Association, Hanover Heights, Rosedale Development Association, Strawberry Hill Neighborhood Association, Town Fork Creek Neighborhood Association, Turtle Hill Community Association.