Some of the thousands of guns confiscated this year displayed...

Some of the thousands of guns confiscated this year displayed during acting NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban's news conference at One Police Plaza in Manhattan on July 3. Credit: Louis Lanzano

Two Long Island communities are among 14 areas statewide that will receive a portion of $20.3 million in state support for so-called SNUG Street Outreach programs aimed at reducing gun violence, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced this week.

The nonsectarian, not-for-profit Family & Children’s Association, based in Garden City, will receive $1,205,652 in funding for use in Hempstead, the governor's office said. The Economic Opportunity Council of Suffolk will receive $698,807 earmarked for use in Wyandanch.

The Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx will receive $2,569,477.

The state SNUG program — SNUG is "guns" spelled backward and some agencies also use it as an acronym to convey the message “Should Never Use Guns” — takes “a public health approach to address gun violence by identifying the source, interrupting transmission, and treating individuals, families and communities affected by violence,” the governor’s office said.

Hochul said in a statement, “With these funds, we are expanding on the proven success of the SNUG program.”

In addition to the announced SNUG funding, the 2024 state budget includes $36.2 million in funding for the state’s Gun Involved Violence Elimination (GIVE) initiative and $17 million for a network of 11 Crime Analysis Centers.

The governor’s office said the “multifaceted approach” has contributed to what it described as “significant progress” in addressing gun violence. While 13 communities that participate in SNUG, as well as GIVE programs, saw 692 shooting incidents with injury this year through Dec. 3, that marked a 36% decrease in both the number of those killed and in the number of shootings with injuries compared to 2021, according to the governor's office. Numbers were not immediately available for 2022.

Statistics for the two Long Island locales also were not available Friday.

Robert ODonnell, assistant to the CEO for Supportive Services of the EOC-Suffolk, said Friday that the funding would greatly help with ongoing efforts to impact gun violence in Wyandanch.

“We’ve decreased the violence a lot with our SNUG program,” he said, “and with this we’re going to help improve our community and help get the youth involved in activities that take them away from that idle time that sometimes leads to violence."

ODonnell added, "All of our staff working in Wyandanch have ties to Wyandanch and this money is going to also help keep individuals employed and doing what needs to be done to have an impact.”

Jeffrey L. Reynolds, president and CEO of the Family & Children's Association, said the state funding will be used for the SNUG program based in one of their three Hempstead offices. As is the case in Wyandanch, the Hempstead outreach team members also have ties to their community — making each “a credible messenger,” he said.

“These dollars will support our long-standing efforts in the Village of Hempstead to reduce gun violence, especially that of a retaliatory nature,” Reynolds said in a statement. “Specifically, the dollars support our SNUG outreach teams that canvas community gathering spots and neighborhoods almost around the clock, providing information about violence prevention and community opportunities."

Reynolds said the funds also will support social work services for people impacted by gun violence, including victims and their families. The group also plans to use the additional funds to support vocational counseling and other resource programs, he said, "because we know that nothing stops a bullet like a job and a bright future.”

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