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Port City United gives update at New Hanover County commissioners meeting

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PCU Director Cedric Harrison speaking at the September 19 meeting.

This morning, New Hanover County Commissioners received an update on the accomplishments of Port City United.

Port City United (PCU) is New Hanover County’s new department focused on helping underserved communities address the issue of gun violence.

PCU staff members gave a presentation sharing updates and information on what they do.

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PCU has connected with many groups and organizations in the Wilmington area to provide much-needed services to residents. County manager Chris Coudriet chimed in during the presentation to expand on the partnership with the Wilmington Housing Authority:

“What you remember was 158 families displaced, that we felt like we could help and ultimately financially help the housing authority, if they would trust us to go through the process of applying for emergency rental assistance program. In the end, 154 of 158 families went through it but we wouldn’t have gotten that far if it weren’t for Cedric, and Steve [Barnett, supervisor for violence interruption and outreach], and the men and women who were on the ground from day one building trust with the displaced families assuring them it’s ok, and safe, to let us help you.”

Cedric Harrison, the director of Port City United, was a victim of this violence himself. He was shot on February 6th.

“I had a bullet go through my ear and out through my nose, as I looked in the direction of my shooter, I could not identify them, all I could see, was flashing lights," he said.

Because of this, Harrison started the Bright Lights Peaceful Nights initiative where, in partnership with Duke Energy, the community can come forth to identify streets that are too dark, or may have broken street lights to have them fixed and installed.

The room applauded after Harrison mentioned four street lamps were installed on the street he’d been shot on.

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Steve Barnett came forward and updated the commissioners on how the violence interruption was going. Based on the Global Cure Violence method, Barnett and his team have mediated conflicts with 38 individuals and 8 groups.

The Port City Connect call center has been operational and has received many calls from residents, and helped refer them to much-needed services with community partners.

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Camille hails from Long Island, NY where the exuberance of sports season never ended. She graduated from Boston University with a BS in Journalism and double minors in Classical Civilizations and Philosophy. Chasing stories has been a passion of hers since she was little, channeling itself through her art and writing. Camille’s journey in audio is never ending and she’s served as a podcast producer on multiple shows. When she’s not working she enjoys chatting and gaming with friends, reading, and creating digital art.