News Local/State

New Community Effort To Provide Immediate Support To CU Residents Affected By Violence

police line, crime scene

Pixabay/ValynPi14 (CC0)

The city of Champaign is getting ready to unveil a community crisis response plan that aims to help people affected by community violence.

The full plan will be unveiled at the next Champaign Community Coalition meeting, which takes place at 3:30 p.m. today at the Champaign Public Library.

Karen Simms is a licensed therapist and consultant who’s part of the team developing the plan.

Simms said too often following an incident of gun violence, people in affected neighborhoods are left feeling unsafe, uninformed and unsure where to turn.

“When you're marginalized and don't have information and don't feel connected, and people aren't helping you get back on your feet, it makes your recovery harder,” she said. “So you're more likely to have later mental health signs and symptoms.”

The plan spells out how resources will be mobilized following an incident of community violence.

A team of responders will immediately reach out to provide people with accurate information and mental health and other resources in the weeks and months to come.

This way, “people can have a little more support while they land on their feet,” she said.

The second component of the crisis response plan involves organizing volunteers to provide 12 to 16 weeks of support for anyone who needs it.

The organizers will be seeking further input on the plan from communities across Champaign-Urbana in the coming weeks.