Thursday, May 17, 2018

Richmond Accepts the First Mayor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide Among Service Members, Veterans and their Families


Video: Mayor speaks about the Challenge 
 
Mayor Levar Stoney recently accepted the First Mayor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide Among Service Members, Veterans and their Families (SMVF). The Mayor’s Challenge is a strategic process to help communities develop, implement and measure comprehensive suicide prevention efforts. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) host the Mayor’s Challenge at the Federal level. Richmond is one of just eight cities including Albuquerque, NM; Billings, MT; Helena, MT; Houston, TX; Las Vegas, NV; Los Angeles, CA; and Phoenix, AZ participating. These first eight cities completed a Policy Academy held in Washington, DC on March 14 - 16, 2018. 

“This is an excellent goal for the City of Richmond and an important opportunity for our city to support our active duty military and veterans,” said Mayor Stoney. “To be one of just eight cities selected in the country and the only locality in Virginia allows Richmond to be a leader in the fight to prevent these tragic loses,” said Mayor Stoney.

This week, Mayor Stoney met with the River City Warriors, an interagency team of federal, state and local partners working to prevent suicide among military service members and veterans in Richmond and Central Virginia. With technical assistance provided by the VA, SAMHSA and SAMHSA’s Service Members, Veterans and their Families Technical Assistance Center, the River City Warriors’ “Richmond team” developed a strategic action plan to reduce suicides using a comprehensive public health approach. With a commitment to action steps such as “implement asking the question ‘Have you ever served’” and “develop consistent suicide prevention media messaging,” Richmond is leading the way for additional localities in the Commonwealth to join in the challenge.

For more information on the Mayor’s Challenge, please contact Brandi Jancaitis at (540) 558-8415 orbrandi.jancaitis@dbhds.virginia.gov.

For information on health and wellness resources in Richmond and Central Virginia including suicide prevention, visitbewellva.com or view SAMHSA’s suicide prevention efforts. 

Click here to read more about veteran suicide.

Military Service Members or Veterans who are in crisis or having thoughts of suicide – and those who know someone in crisis – can call the Veterans Crisis Line for confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. Call (800) 273-8255 and press 1, chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat or text to 838255.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

City’s Biennial Budget Passes


Lean, fiscally responsible spending plan includes significant investments in the whole child, core priorities.


Mayor Levar M. Stoney this evening applauded passage of the FY2019 and FY2020 biennial budget by Richmond City Council.

“This is a values-based, fiscally responsible plan that invests in and improves upon our targeted priorities: core services, public safety, poverty mitigation and education,” said Mayor Stoney.

“I am particularly proud of the roughly $40 million we have dedicated in this spending plan toward meeting the needs of the whole child through investments in our Office of Community Wealth Building, Human Resources, Social Services, Parks and Recreation and the Richmond Public Library System.
 
“I thank Richmond City Council for their hard work and due diligence in meeting our shared responsibility to provide our residents with the strong financial management they expect and deserve, and for approving a plan that sets us on a sound fiscal path for continued growth and future success,” the mayor added.

Mayor Stoney further expressed gratitude to council members for not making a single cut to his budget priorities. “We proposed a thoughtful but lean budget – many of our departments will have to do more with less, but I am confident they will be up to the task,” said the mayor.

“I now look forward to working with our public, private and non-profit communities to leverage these investments for the benefit of all our residents.”

The FY2019 budget takes effect July 1 this year. The following are a few of the highlights from the adopted budget:
 

  • $150 million for Richmond Public Schools construction
  • More than $1.2 million for after school programs and student support services at Richmond elementary and middle schools
  • 1 million to pave an additional 20 lane miles of neighborhood streets
  • More than $630,000 to extend hours of operation at six Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facility sites throughout the city
  • Free bus passes for every Richmond public high school student
  • More than a $250,000 increase in the Affordable Housing Trust Fund
  • A reduction in the water rate for single family residential customers
  • A $733,000 increase for the Richmond Behavioral Health Authority
  • Four weeks of paid maternity leave for birth mothers and four weeks of paid parental bonding leave for the birth/adoption of a child (City of Richmond employees) and 2 weeks of leave to care for a sick parent
  • A one percent salary increase for non-sworn, non-constitutional officer employees effective January of 2019
  • Reinvestment of $12.5 million in Richmond Public Schools
  • $3.4 million to further the FY2018 step based, pay raises for both sworn police and firefighters
  • New Richmond Police Department positions to serve public housing communities