A concentrated community fight against blight, crime and poverty in Little Italy is underway.
Work has been going on in the Little Italy neighborhood for years, which is part of the reason why they were selected for the Byrne Grant.
Starting Thursday, $600,000 and dozens of resources are being pumped into the downtown Erie neighborhood.
There are three focuses for the Byrne Grant money: address crime, help fix up homes and provide mentoring and job assistance for teens and young adults.
While the money will help do all of these things, Mayor Joe Sinnott says it can’t do everything. He says the support of the neighborhood is crucial.
Starting Thursday night, the police mobile precinct will be out, along with officers on foot and bike. They hope to hear from the communtiy about what problems they are seeing and then help address them.
Another group, hoping to rehabilitate and beautify Little Italy, will be out Friday, starting to address blight and some vacant lots.
Scott Henry, executive director of the Erie Redevelopment Authority says blight and crime go hand and hand.
“It is not about enforcement or a prude effort to gain compliance, but it’s about helping the neighborhood come get them get their property in better condition,” Henry said.
As for the youth and teens, two outreach coordinators will help with mentoring and counseling. Also, a work readiness program will help reintegrate 18-24 year olds back into work force.
This grant money will last through march of 2018.
The city expects signifcant changes between then and now. Mayor Sinnott says there are a lot of great things to look forward to for Little Italy.