Louisville Urban League putting team on the streets to combat vi - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville Urban League putting team on the streets to combat violence

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville is putting a team on the streets in the city's poorest and most dangerous communities. They're not police, but they're charged with improving public safety by rescuing kids from groups known for crime.

Greg Williams lives in a zone of hope.

It might be hard to tell as he passes the shattered glass on West Hill, where a Louisville couple was just gunned down inside their home -- and you might not see it beyond the garbage in the grass that didn't make it to the can, or the plywood that sticks out, covering up abandoned homes.

Every time I look on the news, someone is being shot, killed or robbed," he said.

But this is a Zone of Hope. Louisville's Urban League is hiring three people to work in the "hope zones" like this one: high crime, low income, drug ridden communities.

Ben Richmond, President and CEO of the Louisville Urban League, calls it, "a program designed to really penetrate five neighborhoods: California, Russell, Parkland, Shawnee and Newburg."

"African American male achievement: that's our goal," he said. "Helping them understand what it mean to be a successful citizen."

It's a plan for putting "boots on the ground" to look for and help those who might be taking the wrong path.

"We want to go on the corner, they're on the corner with a brown bag in their hand probably," Richmond added. "Victory Park, Russell neighborhood, Beecher Terrace, 35th and Broadway, 37th and Market -- all the places where we know we have issues."

It's an effort to fight the city's recent surge in violent crime.

"The Mayor tells you all the time this is not overnight work," said Anthony Smith, the Metro Louisville Safe Neighborhoods Director.

The city does not lack second chance programs, jobs, or mentoring. It's just that it has struggled to get the young people committing crimes to participate.

"In order to solve the community's problems, you have to become part of the community," Williams said.

Organizers know it will take a diverse skill-set to do this outreach.

"We might have some people that have gone through the system before....and now looking for a better direction and want to do this type of work to get a better track record started," said Richmond. "We're open to that."

It's a first-of-its-kind program for Louisville, yet Greg Williams says it's worth it.

"I've been a victim of being shot and robbed," he said. "Derby 2014. I got shot in the head and in the back."

He lives to have hope in his home again.

"I've always lived in the West End," he said.

Interested Neighborhood Outreach applicants should contact:

Lawrence Wilbon
Louisville Urban League
1535 West Broadway
Louisville, KY. 40203
Phone: (502) 561-6830

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