A $1.6 billion proposal in the U.S. House of Representatives would help restore funding to scores of youth anti-crime programs whose budgets have been slashed, but lawmakers may be reluctant to take up the expensive measure amid a sour economy, reports the Associated Press. The Youth Promise Act would fund organizations like Homeboy Industries, a gang rehabilitation center founded in 2001 under the motto “Nothing stops a bullet like a job.” The center recently laid off more than 300 of its 427 workers, most of them former gang members.
The recession has hit other nonprofits across the country hard and left some wondering how they will survive. “It would be a lifeline for us,” Omar Jahwar, whose Vision Regeneration group fights violence in Dallas, said of the Youth Promise Act. The bill has 235 co-sponsors in the House but only 14 in the Senate. It is competing with another crime bill, proposed by Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., that would create a string of new criminal offenses and enhanced penalties for gang members.