Non-profit to receive ARPA dollars to assist with trauma connected to gun violence, drug overdoses in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) – After another weekend of violence, St. Louis City residents are getting a better understanding of how federal money will help area non-profits fight violence in the metro area.

Last week, News 4 pm reported $5.5 million dollars of ARPA dollars to help a variety of groups. Now, we know seven different organizations will share that multi-million-dollar pie.

Erica Jones is one of the leads of, “The T,” a non-profit working to heal community trauma from gun violence and drug overdoses.

“Everything you do has a consequence behind it and so not only am I educating them,” Jones explained. “I’m getting them to think about their next move.”

Jones understands the cost of gun violence better than most. Her daughter, Whitney, was shot twice with an AK-47 back in August 2015. She bled out. Her son witnessed the shooting.

Jones’ journey to help the boy come to terms with his trauma led her to change careers to work at the BRIC – a bullet-related injury clinic.

“That’s where my fight began,” Jones said.

The BRIC was opened in 2021 by founder Dr. EJ Punch. Patients poured in almost instantly. Staff helps more than 500 patients. The average patient age is 29 years old and the majority are Black men.

“It’s hard, it’s definitely hard,” Jones said.

She said there can never be enough funding. “The T” is one of seven organizations, now approved to get a part of $5.5 million from the City of St. Louis.

“The funds that we get will definitely be a blessing for us to continue, even expand, even collaborate with other cities,” Jones shared.

The mayor’s office tells News 4 that recipients are at various stages of contract negotiations to finalize receiving their funding

“[The funds] will help address these causes and will hopefully decrease crime over time in the long run and change those communities,” Wilford Pinkney, Director of Children, Youth, and Families said.

According to the City of St. Louis’ American Rescue Plan Projects dashboard, the city has allocated $80,139,428 to a variety of needs. Only $6.3 million has actually been spent. This all comes from the $135,337,018 of ARPA dollars distributed to the city.

Anyone can view these dollar amounts and where the money is distributed by clicking here to view the dashboard.

Jones said the long-term goal for “The T” and BRIC is to expand into other states dealing with a high volume of gun-related injuries. But also on the list is a new sign out front to welcome guests.

“Here at the BRIC you feel important, we make you feel like family,” Jones shared. “We make sure you know at the end of the day we have you and we’re going to take care of you.”

Anyone wanting to learn about gun violence in the City of St. Louis and to receive training to help someone with a gun wound or a drug overdose can do so with, “The T.” The BRIC hosts a community summer series with weekly events.

The next session is Monday, July 11.

For information on that event or any other upcoming trainings, click here to go to the agency’s website.

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