BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) — In an effort to combat gun violence and get illegal guns off our streets, New York state is investing millions of dollars into youth-based programs.

Leaders of Back to Basics Ministries and Stop the Violence Coalition say it takes a lot of resources to tackle gun violence.

“Resources are absolutely essential for us to do what we do,” said pastor James Giles, CEO of Back to Basics Ministries.

“It costs to do this work, it’s not free to just come out here and be an activist,” said Murray Holman, the executive director of Stop the Violence Coalition.

Governor Kathy Hochul announced last Friday that the state Department of Health, along with the state’s Division of Criminal Justice Services, is providing $5M to organizations that work with youth in neighborhoods experiencing the highest rates of gun violence.

Holman’s organization helps men and women get back on their feet after serving time behind bars. Stop the Violence Coalition also works with the city’s youth to try and steer them away from a life of crime and violence.

“It takes a lot of work, not just with the 5/14 but the daily activity of gun violence in our community. Young men and young ladies riding around with guns in the car. This [funding] will us tremendously curb that violence,” Holman said.

Giles said adequate funding for violence prevention groups like his is crucial to keep the community safe.

“If we’re not here doing all this preventative work around the schools, around the communities, around the neighborhoods watch what happens,” Giles said. “It’s important they invest.”

The deadline for organizations to apply to receive the state funding is Wednesday, Nov. 8.

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Sarah Minkewicz is an Emmy-nominated reporter and Buffalo native who has been a part of the News 4 team since 2019. Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahMinkewicz and click here to see more of her work.