What Is STRiVIN'?
From Day 1 COMBAT has been tasked with doing more than just providing essential funding for law enforcement. An emphasis has always been placed on also supporting innovative prevention and treatment programs.
But through the Striving Together to Reduce Violence In Neighborhoods (STRiVIN’) initiative, COMBAT has sought to assure there is greater cooperation among all the agencies receiving anti-crime tax funding—from police departments and the courts, to the schools and treatment providers. STRiVIN’ brings together police officers, school administrators, mental health professionals, social workers, faithed-based leaders, elected officials and concerned citizens to address violence in our most vulnerable neighborhoods.
The goal is to make these neighborhoods a safe place to call home.
Using crime statistics from 11 local police departments, COMBAT began in 2015 to generate “heat maps” to identify those neighborhoods most in need of anti-violence and anti-drug resources. In June of that year COMBAT began to allocate more resources in what was determined to be an especially hot “hot spot” in south Kansas City. COMBAT established a “hub” called The Hope Hangout in the Ruskin neighborhood to begin coordinating efforts among all COMBAT-funded agencies in the area.
STRiVIN’ would not be given its official name until late 2019. And five STRiVIN’ hubs have now been established in these neighborhoods and communities:
A Collaborative Effort
The success of STRiVIN’ hinges on collaboration. No one person or any single agency has all the answers. Truly changing a neighborhood does require striving together. That’s why through STRiVIN’ we are bringing together all these organizations and professionals with varied expertise—and unique experiences—to join forces, pool resources, provide services and seek solutions.
A Comprehensive Approach
STRiVIN’ represents COMBAT’s ongoing recognition that drug abuse and violence aren’t just legal issues but also public health crises. Working together, we are addressing the core issues triggering much of the violence in these neighborhoods—with a growing emphasis on treating trauma and addressing the Social Determinants of Health.
Social determinants of health (SDOH) are the conditions in the environments where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks.
— U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
We quickly learned in Ruskin what simply getting everyone together in the same room and starting a dialogue could accomplish. The Kansas City Police, school administrators, court case workers and faith leaders promptly identified those youths who were the source of many issues in the neighborhood.
Early intervention is crucial when trying to get at-risk youths on the right path—away from crime and drugs—and then keeping them on it. Again, expecting one group (e.g. the schools) to spot all the red flags and, alone, saving these youths isn’t realistic.
But when the schools, courts, police, COMBAT program providers and others team up, STRiVIN’ can help individuals and families improve their circumstances and, in turn, improve the quality of life in their whole neighborhood.
- STRiVIN' Social Services Referral Program
- Dedicated To Improving People's Realities
- Innovative Program Unlike Any Other
In 2021 COMBAT took STRiVIN’ to the next level.
We launched the STRiVIN’ Social Services Referrals system to connect individuals and families in distress with community resources able to assist them. The system was initially focused on making it as easy as 1-2-3 for police officers to make a referral—often times on-the-spot while responding to a 9-1-1 call.
The online referrals can be made in a matter of minutes using a smart phone. They’re then routed to a STRiVIN’ hub agency for processing, including an in-depth needs assessment and then passing along the referral to the proper community resource able to address the specific needs of the person and/or their family. These referrals can lead to life-changing, if not life-saving services being provided.
The types of services available is wide and varied, including economic assistance and counseling.
The referral program has expanded with school administrators, health care professionals and others now making referrals. Nearly 1,000 referrals had been made through early May 2023.