US Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday, December 17, that a $1.5-million federal grant will be provided to reimburse organizations and agencies that provided direct support to the victims, first responders, and the Newtown community in the immediate aftermath of the 12/14 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
The Justice Department’s Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) provided the grant to the Connecticut Judicial Branch, which administers funding for services to victims of violent crime.
This grant will be used toward costs incurred by those organizations that provided crisis intervention services, trauma-informed care, select victim-related law enforcement support, and the various costs incurred in moving students from Sandy Hook to a new school location in Monroe.
The OVC is working directly with Newtown officials and the state of Connecticut to develop an additional grant application to provide more funding for long-term victim recovery.
“This funding will provide critical support to the brave women and men who responded to the devastating violence at Sandy Hook Elementary School, as well as the counselors and others who are helping the community to recover,” Mr Holder said in a statement.
“One year after the senseless violence in Newtown, we continue to mourn the innocent children and selfless adults who were taken from us on that terrible day. We admire and continue to support the community that has displayed such strength and resilience since then. And through this grant, and the additional funds that have already been provided to the Newtown Police Department and their law enforcement partners, we reaffirm our commitment to standing with the people of Newtown, the families of the victims, and all who are helping to bring help and healing to those affected by this heartbreaking tragedy,” Mr Holder added.
“OVC is committed to ensuring that the community of Newtown has the resources necessary to assist victims of this horrific crime,” said OVC Director Joye Frost.
“One year ago, our country was shocked to its core with this senseless slaughter of innocents. We have all mourned the loss of these young children and their courageous teachers. Through this funding, which will be administered by the Connecticut state government, OVC is supporting the critically important work of the school system, social service and medical organizations and the city government as they continue to assist victims,” Ms Frost said.
Laying The Groundwork
Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra said, “The town has worked closely with the Connecticut Office of Victim Services and with the federal Department of Justice to complete this part of the grant application that focuses directly on reimbursing agencies and departments for critical services provided in the immediate days and weeks following the events of December 14.”
“We are very appreciative for the support of our state agent and for the cooperative and understanding of the federal representatives. The agencies and departments that are listed in the grant provided services at their own cost. This grant helps to restore resources for the state and local agencies involved,” Mrs Llodra said.
The first selectman explained that the grant provides reimbursement for mental health services that began on 12/14 and continued for varied days and weeks, depending on the organization. Organizations being reimbursed are: Child Guidance Clinic, Clifford Beers Clinic, Kids in Crisis Inc., Newtown Youth & Family Services, Regional Hospice and Home Care, United Way, Wellmore, and Western Connecticut Medical Group.
There also is reimbursement for services provided by Newtown police, state police, and the Town of Monroe. The mutual aid costs borne by various municipal police departments also is covered.
Also, reimbursement will be provided to the Town of Newtown concerning costs associated with the Donation Center, the Memorial Service, Parks and Recreation expenses, and Public Works Department expenses.
Reimbursement also covers costs for security guards at elementary schools, building “hardening,” and wellness programs.
Mrs Llodra noted that the $1.5 million grant covers costs that were not covered by any other grant.
In a joint statement, US Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, and Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty said, “The Newtown community has been tested to the very limits of human grief over the past year, and we have an obligation to ensure that all those who sacrificed so much on December 14 have the support they need to heal from this unspeakable tragedy.”
“We are grateful for the Department of Justice's action today in response to the horror of the Sandy Hook School shooting. While this grant provides some relief to the people of Newtown, they will continue to need our support in the coming months and years, and we will be advocating for them every step of the way,” they said.