I don’t think it is an overstatement to say that our involvement in the City of Oakland’s Ceasefire Violence Reduction Strategy, most notably by hosting the call-ins that are a central component of the strategy, is one of the most important things Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church has done in its 154 years of ministry.
Often, it is difficult to gauge what difference a good project, program or effort is making. Statistics often fail to tell the whole story. However, I thought the following report in regard to the call-in participants would be quite helpful. It is a long report, yet well worth reading in its entirety.
Ceasefire Case Management Program Update (Summer 2014)
Ceasefire Case Management through Oakland Unite: The goal of Ceasefire Case Management is to support individuals as they take steps towards making positive changes in their own lives. During call-ins and custom notifications services are offered to all individuals, though participation in services offered is not a requirement. The only requirement is that the shootings and homicides cease.
Referral Process: All clients are referred through Ceasefire call-ins, custom notifications, or client family/friend referral. All clients must be identified as being actively connected to/involved in gun violence (through Oakland Police Department or community information).
After a call-in or custom notification, the Oakland Unite case manager contacts all individuals interested in services within 24 hours. Home visits are scheduled as soon as possible (within the week), and the case manager follows up with nonresponsive individuals multiple times to ensure as high a service uptake rate as possible. Those who choose to access services are connected with Oakland Unite Case Managers, who provide intensive support and referrals to resources, including:
- Job readiness/skills training and employment opportunities;
- Education support (class registration, connection to services such as tutoring);
- Practical support (obtaining driver’s license, etc.) and legal assistance; and
- Ongoing mentoring and assistance in setting and meeting goals.
Five call-ins were held between October 2012 and June 2014:
- 98 people total attended these call-ins as participants, and 35 received custom notifications.
- Of these, 60 individuals expressed interest in and received Oakland Unite support services.
Resources Available: The resources available to the Case Manager include, but are not limited to, the Oakland Unite-funded programs administered by the City. A number of these programs, particularly those that offer employment, education, or skill-building opportunities, have provided services to Ceasefire participants. Case Managers work closely with employers and other service providers to help ensure success for clients.
What is Oakland Unite? Oakland Unite is a collaboration of community-based organizations, public agencies, and residents, using proven and effective means to reduce violence in Oakland. The collaborating agencies are supported through Measure Y funding.
Community Partnerships: Ceasefire faith and community partners have also provided support to Ceasefire clients by providing holiday dinners, building relationships with interested participants, and offering connections to additional resources such as scholarships.
Ceasefire Client Needs and Services Accessed: All clients receive ongoing mentoring and support. Additionally, clients have enrolled in GED and continuing education programs, job training and employment placements, health insurance, supportive housing, and substance abuse and anger management programs. As needed, incentive support is offered to offset transportation costs, for purchase of work clothes and supplies, for housing and education costs, and for DMV and other legal/documentation expenses.