Proposal comes as the nation has seen gun violence increase and marks the first time the government has made an effort to address the root causes Janet Molstad holds a sign at the Colorado state capitol during a discussion on gun violence in the wake of the Boulder shooting. Photograph: Alyson Mcclaran/Reuters The Biden administration plans to invest $5bn toward gun violence prevention in the nation’s most hard-hit areas as part of a key infrastructure package announced this week. This investment marks an important step in acknowledging the disparate impact of gun violence and is the first time the government has set aside this much money at one time to address community violence holistically over a multi-year period. “Historically, the federal government’s approach, particularly when faced with surges in gun homicides, is to fund strategies that over-police,” said Paul Carillo, community violence initiative director for the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, in a statement. “The Biden administration demonstrated a commitment to addressing the root causes.” series links The proposal comes as America has witnessed a significant increase in gun violence during the pandemic. Los Angeles has recorded an 11-year high in homicides. Philadelphia is seeing one of the highest annual gun violence rates in half a century. Joe Biden has long been a firm advocate for gun control and has called for bans on assault weapons and universal background checks. He has reiterated his resolve after the first high-profile mass shootings of his tenure in the White House. But advocates have long called on the administration to address the less-acknowledged, but more prevalent, incidents of gun violence that plague city streets which are concentrated among Black and Latino communities. Biden’s $5bn proposal would work to create and scale up community-based violence prevention strategies. The money would be allotted over eight years and go toward employing street outreach workers, making violence prevention work sustainable, and giving organizations a steady stream of funds so they can lessen their reliance on competitive one-time grants. Funds earmarked for localities where shootings are surging are meant to help underserved communities rebound from pandemic-related losses and heal from the sustained spike in homicides. The money would also contribute to programs such as summer jobs and training opportunities for those most at risk of being affected by gun violence as a victim or would-be shooter, a White House administrator said. “It’s been a long time coming and we think this plan is a great signal that this work is finally being taken seriously,” said Dr Antonio Cediel, campaign manager for LIVE FREE, a national violence prevention organization. “This creates a whole new set of opportunities. We have to tackle gun violence where it is most concentrated,” Cediel added. “These strategies have track records and we know they work. It’s just a matter of scaling them up.” Cediel was one of 10 gun violence prevention advocates who met with Susan Rice, Biden’s domestic policy adviser, to call for the administration to take dramatic action and focus on the Black and Brown communities that face the highest levels of gun violence. Other advocacy groups, including March for our Lives and Amnesty International, have celebrated the announcement. A statement from Amnesty International USA read, “After years of inaction from the federal government on gun violence, President Biden’s plan to invest in our communities demonstrates hope that those most affected by this violence will receive help.” Everytown for Gun Safety applauded the plan, “This funding will save lives.” We applaud @POTUS for proposing $5B to support community violence prevention programs as part of the #AmericanJobsPlan.For decades, these Black-led organizations have reduced violence with these critically important programs—this funding will save lives. https://t.co/CcWcDMQc2T— Everytown (@Everytown) March 31, 2021 Biden on Wednesday described his infrastructure plan as, “a once-in-a-generation investment in America”. Other proposals include expansive updates to the nation’s roads, water systems, and electrical grids, and – if it passes – could create an estimated 100,000 jobs, Biden said during the plan’s unveiling. “Our infrastructure is crumbling. These are among the highest value investments we can make. We can afford to make them. We can’t afford not to.” Biden said.