Mayor's Office Press Release

Mayor’s Office of Public Safety & Homeland Security Lands Federal Grant to Counter Terrorism

January 26, 2017 -- The City of Houston will receive a $400,000 federal grant from the Department of Homeland Security to reduce the vulnerability of youth to extremist ideologies. The Houston Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Training and Engagement Initiative will be led by a Houston Regional CVE Steering Committee to produce scenario-based workshops for parents and youth, as well as a train-the-trainer program to ensure sustainability of the initiative.

“Homegrown violent extremism is one of the greatest emerging threats to our nation and our individual communities,” said Dennis Storemski, Director of Public Safety & Homeland Security.  “The long term solution to this emerging threat must be driven by the community not the government.  Consequently our program is intended to be government supported not government driven.”

Out of 200 applications, a total of 31 proposals from various organizations in multiple communities, will receive part of the $10 million distributed by Congress in 2016. Houston’s initiative will be accompanied by a strategic communication plan to ensure the appropriate reach within the City of Houston and Harris, Fort Bend, Galveston, Brazoria and Montgomery counties. The target audience for this initiative is more than 810,000 youth of the Greater Houston region and nearly 1.5 million family households.

What makes Houston’s approach innovative is that it will be a community-driven effort to address CVE across the ideological spectrum. It includes a modular and flexible approach to training, workshops and information sharing that is adaptable to a wide range of venues and mechanisms of delivery. The City of Houston has commitments from government partners as well as Rice University and University of Houston, and nonprofit partners such as the Islamic Society of Greater Houston, Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston and the United Way.

The role of law enforcement in this program is limited to curriculum development, including emerging threat analysis from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Houston Regional Intelligence Service Center. Partners from the Anti-Defamation League and the American Civil Liberties Union will assist the Houston Regional Counter Violent Extremism Steering Committee while ensuring civil rights and liberties are protected.