Chantay Love spends every day listening to people recount the worst days of their lives.
“It’s almost like you’re holding your breath and not being able to breathe,” she said.
At her Philadelphia nonprofit group, the EMIR Healing Center, Love helps people who have lost their loved ones to homicides. She also often relocates family members whose lives are being threatened with violence.
“Wherever you look or wherever you go, somebody could be looking to blow your brains out,” Love said.
That’s why Love was so frustrated when she learned the city of Philadelphia can’t account for money it set aside to help relocate threatened families.
“I don’t think they lost it,” Love said. “I just think they allocated it somewhere else.”
Last November, $500,000 had been allocated by the Philadelphia City Council for community-led relocation services for residents who were threatened with deadly violence. Now city council members say those same people still haven’t received the money.
“Five hundred thousand dollars,” city councilman David Oh said during Tuesday’s meeting on gun violence prevention. “Where is the five hundred thousand dollars?”
“From our understanding, part of the money is in the District Attorney’s Office and part of it is in MBO’s office,” Shondell Revell, the executive director of the city’s Office of Violence Prevention, answered.
“Who sent the money to the District Attorney’s Office?” Oh asked.
“I can get you that answer. I do not have that answer now,” Revell said.
The city said it would get back to the council with a clearer answer. Love, meanwhile, hopes the money will get to the families soon.
“We’ve got to be better than that,” Love said. “We’ve got to do better.”
A spokesperson for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office told NBC10 they received some council funds to help with relocation services but the bulk of their program comes from the state. NBC10 also reached out to the city to find out where the funds are. A city spokesperson later released a statement.
“Instead of standing up a separate new office, the Administration and MDO made a decision to use the funding in the Budget that provides supports for shooting victims–including relocation–to increase funding for the existing organizations that currently do this work, including the DA’s Office and PAAN,” the spokesperson wrote. “In the MidYear transfer ordinance currently working its way through City Council, there will be $1 million in funding dedicated to this purpose once the bill is passed.”