AVONDALE — The Illinois Department of Human Services has awarded the Avondale neighborhood a $65,000 grant to combat drug abuse among teens and pre-teens.
The Substance Abuse Prevention Program [SAPP] was introduced by the DHS to "reduce consumption of, consequences from, and contributing factors to alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs." Rincon Family Services, located in Humboldt Park with a satellite office in Irving Park, was awarded the grant to identify contributing factors to youth substance abuse in Avondale.
The grant is the first of its kind in the neighborhood, said Angel Roman, Prevention Services Supervisor at Rincon, adding the money would be used to build a coalition of business owners, community leaders, parents and professionals that will work to identify neighborhood needs and implement programs in schools and youth groups.
They will also work with police to determine whether local businesses are selling alcohol to minors and crack down on them, he said.
The neighborhood does not necessarily have more of a substance abuse problem, Roman said, but he believes the state realized the neighborhood was in need of more outside help. Often overshadowed by its neighbors to the south, Logan Square and Humboldt Park, Roman said it's time that Avondale get a little boost, adding that he hopes the coalition will become a permanent force to tackle other issues in the neighborhood.
"I honestly hope to build a coalition that will stay around — that they won't disappear when the grant's gone," he said.