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San Diego-based Metro United Methodist Urban Ministry, in operation since 1966, has an established track history of working with low-income youth, helping them avoid jail and achieve stable employment. Last week, the group celebrated the award of $7.5 million in federal grant monies to be used toward gang prevention programs in California, Arizona, and Georgia. Closer to home, the organization is having trouble collecting a much smaller amount it says it’s owed.

On Tuesday (July 23), Metro sued the City of San Diego, claiming it has been unable to collect $43,326 due for working with the San Diego Police Department on implementation and staffing of CalGRIP, or California Gang Reduction, Intervention, and Prevention. The City, according to a 2009 agreement attached to the complaint, was to receive funding for the program through the California Office of Emergency Services.

Under the agreement, signed by City officials in April 2009, Metro was to collect up to $5,000 per month for an 18-month period for hiring, training, and integrating City staff into gang avoidance programs, as well as conducting community outreach and identifying 15 “gang affected youth and families” per month to participate in the program.

The original contract contained up to four one-year extensions at the City’s option. Metro accuses the City of “failing to pay plaintiff for all sums due under the alleged agreement.” The organization is seeking back interest and attorney’s fees in addition to payment of sums due.

Metro did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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