County votes $4 million for Youth crime prevention

Funds targeted to groups that help at-risk kids

Harris County announces a Youth Reinvestment Fund to engage at-risk youth to prevent crime before it happens; to Support the work of grassroots organizations to zero in and eliminate root causes of gun violence and crime.

Judge Hidalgo joined Commissioner Rodney Ellis and other local leaders last week to announce another new initiative aimed at reducing crime across Harris County.

Approved by Harris County Commissioners Court in April, the $4 million Youth Reinvestment Fund will prevent crime, including violent gun crime, before it happens by supporting local organizations who engage at-risk youth and support strategies proven to divert young people away from the criminal justice system.

Research consistently demonstrates that investing in early childhood intervention among at-risk youth effectively decreases the likelihood of young people becoming adult offenders later on in life and saves taxpayer dollars in the long run.

At the announcement were Lina Hidalgo, Harris County Judge Rodney Ellis, Harris County Precinct 1 Commissioner, Helen Stagg, Change Happens CEO, Henry Gonzales, Executive Director of Harris County Juvenile Probation Department, Assata Richards, Youth Justice Coalition, Dr. Ana Yáñez Correa, Interim Director Justice Administration Department.

During the press conference, Judge Hidalgo and Commissioner Ellis announced that Change Happens will serve as the administrator and “backbone” of this new fund. Change Happens is a local non-profit organization with decades of experience providing comprehensive mentoring, education, prevention, and intervention services to at-risk youth. The organization will partner with other grassroots organizations across the county engaged in evidence-based work to administer funding, provide technical assistance and other support for the community.

Earlier this year, Harris County Commissioners Court approved over $1.4 billion for justice and public safety – the largest amount ever allocated in Harris County history. This follows annual increases in budgets for every law enforcement agency in the county, including constables and the district attorney.