Lake County Board Chair Sandy Hart speaks while attending the Communities in Action forum last Thursday at the White House. | Provided Photo

Lake County officials attended an event at the White House last week and touted the county’s gun violence prevention initiative, which is one of several federally funded programs in the county.

Lake County Board Chair Sandy Hart attended the Communities in Action forum last Thursday.

The event gathered leaders who shared their success stories about community revitalization, economic recovery, sustainable energy initiatives and increased access to health services.

It was hosted by the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and the Office of Public Engagement and attended by Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President of the United States Tom Perez, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, along with Greg Jackson and Rob Wilcox, Deputy Directors of the Office of Gun Violence Prevention.

Hart highlighted work that Lake County is doing with the $135.2 million it received in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding.

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She discussed the Lake County Gun Violence Prevention Initiative (GVPI), which is one of the ARPA-funded programs the county has invested in.

The initiative was launched in mid-2022 and aims to reduce gun violence in the Waukegan, North Chicago and Zion areas through the use of “violence interrupters” that provide services to the three communities.

County officials said 31 community members have been referred to social service agencies since the program began a year and a half ago. The violence interrupters have had a presence at 49 community events.

County officials claim 93% of all mediations performed by the group have been successful.

Hart also shared how the state appropriation of $30 million in ARPA funding was used by the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission and local partners to alleviate flooding in hard-hit communities across Lake County.

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The 12 projects protected over 2,400 properties and 23 primary and 84 secondary roadways from flooding in Lake County, officials said.

“We have been able to expand behavioral health services, mitigate flooding, improve public safety, increase job training resources, improve transportation, upgrade voting services, and much more, as a result of these once-in-a-lifetime investments,” Hart said, referring to ARPA funding.