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Mayor Bowser Invests $4.3 Million to Expand Safe Passage Program to Keep Kids Safe as They Travel to and From School

Friday, December 3, 2021

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser, Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Chris Geldart, and Deputy Mayor for Education Paul Kihn announced that six community-based organizations will receive $4.3 million from the Office of Out of School Time Grants and Youth Outcomes for Fiscal Year 2022 to support the District’s new Safe Passage Safe Blocks initiative.

“Our young people deserve to feel safe before, during, and after school, and the Safe Passage program is an important part of our commitment to youth safety,” said Mayor Bowser. “With this investment, we’re partnering with organizations in the community in order to hire a Safe Passage workforce that not only places adults on targeted routes, but also strategically places them in our schools to build trust and to promote conflict resolution and violence interruption in our communities.”

The Mayor’s investment will provide an additional 215 safe passage personnel in 7 priority areas across 6 wards and 47 schools. Safe Passage Safe Blocks (SPSB) providers will hire and manage trusted, caring adults to be placed on mapped routes to support student safety as students travel to and from school, while building strong relationships with surrounding communities. SPSB also involves an in-school component, including conflict resolution, mediation services, and community relationship-building to keep students safe and improve student attendance. Awards will be finalized in the coming weeks, and programs will start on a rolling basis.

The Safe Passage Safe Blocks initiative builds on the current Safe Passage work being done in the District’s Safe Passage Priority Areas, which cover Anacostia Metro Station, Minnesota Avenue Metro Station, L'Enfant Plaza, Waterfront Metro Station, NoMa-Gallaudet Metro Station, Good Hope Road SE Corridor, and Columbia Heights Metro Station. These areas have been identified as places where students have a higher need for additional supports, transportation solutions and violence prevention interventions to ensure safe travel to and from school. In these areas, the District has deployed additional resources that include MPD School Resource officers, Metro Transit Officers, particularly around school arrival and dismissal hours, and violence interrupters, who provide support in the surrounding communities.

Mayor Bowser’s FY22 budget invested $6.2 million to launch DC SchoolConnect, a new school micro-transportation program. The program currently serves 20 DCPS and charter schools in Safe Passage areas in Wards 7 and 8. Vans and sedans are used to provide student transportation to and from school with “microstops” near each school.

This year, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education issued a Request for Applications from eligible organizations to design, build, and implement SPSB programs in designated Safe Passage Priority Areas. The following organizations were selected and will receive funding during Fiscal Year 2022 and School Year 2021-2022.

Organization Safe Passage Priority Area
Center for Nonprofit Advancement L’Enfant Plaza/Waterfront (Ward 6)
Collaborative Solutions for Communities (CSC) Columbia Heights (Wards 1 and 4)*
The Dance Institute of Washington Columbia Heights (Ward 1)
East River Family Strengthening Collaborative Inc Minnesota Avenue (Ward 7)
National Association for the Advancement of Returning Citizens (NAARC) Anacostia (Ward 8)
Good Hope Road SE (Ward 8)
Minnesota Avenue (Ward 7)
YAAY Me Inc NoMa-Gallaudet (Ward 5)
Congress Heights (Ward 8)

*Several Ward 4 schools in the Petworth and Brightwood neighborhoods were added to the Columbia Heights Safe Passage Priority Area for this school year.

A full list of schools included in School Year 2021-2022 can be found at safepassage.dc.gov/page/safe-passage-priority-areas.