How Policy Legacies are Shaping Local Governments’ Use of SLFRF Dollars for Community Violence Interventions
Conclusion, figure 5 Heading link
In sum, our evidence suggests that cities which that funded CVI in 2019 and that had an OVP in 2019 are more likely to report CVI spending in their current budgets.
Our analysis suggests several preliminary conclusions about how cities are using SLFRF dollars to support community violence interventions.
First, even cities with stronger policy infrastructures to support CVI may face conflicting incentives when obligating the first portion of their SLFRF aid. Indeed, given the administrative burdens in setting up new programs, recipient governments across the board were far more likely to spend initial funding on revenue replacement than on new programs.
Second, a larger number of cities are spending on CVIs by drawing on multiple revenue sources other than SLFRF. This suggests that SLFRF’s effects on local CVI spending may be indirect, though our analysis does not yet allow us to determine whether this is the case. We will address this question further in a future blog post.
Third, when we look at local budgets rather than SLFRF Project and Expenditure Reports, we do see a link between policy legacies and current funding for CVI. And unsurprisingly, cities with stronger policy legacies on CVI—those that spent on CVI programs in the past and those that had already established an Office of Violence Prevention—are more likely to be allocating to these types of projects currently. This suggests that if SLFRF has an effect on local CVI funding it may not be even across cities.
In sum, when federal programs allow a high level of local discretion, a city’s pursuit of new local initiatives is contingent not on the new revenue alone, but on its institutional capacity to direct resources to that purpose.