Philly DA launches mobile resource hub for high-crime areas

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is launching a mobile resource hub for residents of high-crime areas.

“There’s a need to build bridges between marginalized communities and the justice system as a whole,” said G. Lamar Stewart, assistant director of community engagement for the D.A.’s Office.

Every first Thursday of the month, the Mobile One-Stop Job and Resource Hub will travel to a different at-risk neighborhood, bringing victim services, housing professionals, trauma care organizations and returning citizen-friendly employers — with real jobs — to community locations.

“We have SEPTA, we have the city of Philadelphia, all of the agencies — the Philadelphia Water Department,” says Stewart. “If we can provide a person with a service before they go into the justice system — then we’ve won.”

A former Philadelphia police officer, Stewart lead the department’s Turning a New Corner initiative.  The effort brought employers to street corners in high-crime areas. 

Stewart says the program resulted in 68 people getting jobs, and all are still employed. But the new D.A. Larry Krasner-backed program, which launches this month, is much broader.

“This is kind of more of a wraparound service — where it’s like, if you get a job, but also need housing, we have those services here. If you get a job and you need trauma care, we have those services here,” he said.

“We are trying to build trust so that when people see the D.A., it’s not just because someone has been shot or there’s a stand-off with police,” said Mike Lee, director of government affairs for the D.A.’s Office. 

He says this hub is part of Krasner’s public health approach to criminal justice.

“We are trying to give people hope,” he said. 

Keziah Cameron, in victims services, says the Hub represents a more holistic approach to criminal justice — bringing in in churches, community groups, anti-violence organizations and a variety of employers and agencies across the city to deliver services to communities to help prevent crime before it happens. And to built trust.

“We have to start shifting the tide,” she said. “We have to start going out to the community.”

The first One-Stop Job and Resource Hub will take place Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Columbia North YMCA at 1400 N. Broad Street.

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