Hennepin County is doling out $10 million as part of an urgent new strategy aimed at preventing carjackings, assaults and shootings during a nearly historic stretch of violent crime.

The county is giving money to local community groups as well as hiring a "safe communities" director and gun-violence prevention coordinator in its first coordinated campaign to reduce violent crime.

"It's a big county, and lots of communities have very different needs," said Lisa Bayley, who oversees the prevention program. "We are looking to play to strengths on what is working. But we realize one size doesn't fit all."

County officials received more than 100 applications and awarded grants ranging from $50,000 to Neighborhood HealthSource to train and hire youth to help heal trauma victims on Minneapolis' North Side to $400,000 to Shiloh Temple's outreach team whose goal is to stop street corner crime.

The county awarded nearly $5 million to more than 50 groups in 2022 and plans to spend the rest of money early next year.

Bayley said county officials are experimenting with more innovative solutions outside the criminal justice system: An Art is My Weapon exhibit featured weapons obtained in a gun buyback program; Asian Media Access worked with underserved immigrants, and the Brooklyn Park Lions Drum and Bugle Corps provided youth programming.

What is less certain is whether the spending is having tangible impact.

The county is rolling out the initiative as crime surges in the Twin Cities. Minneapolis had more than 600 carjackings last year, and the U.S. Attorney's Office has overseen several significant carjacking prosecutions the past several months.

On Sunday, Minneapolis recorded it 68th homicide this year, according to data tracked by the Star Tribune. In addition, gunfire has injured 422 people and been reported more than 6,843 times. At this time last year, those numbers were 474 and 7,880, respectively.

The largest grant of $700,000 went to the Next Step Program, which employs staff at three metro hospitals to talk to victims and families of patients who suffered a violent incident. They not only deal with the immediate stress of trauma but try to learn what led to the violent behavior and how it can be changed, said program director Kentral Galloway.

"We want to calm down situations and stop retaliations and stop the cycle of violence," he said.

Some of the grant money is used to hire more staff, including a violence intervention specialist. The program is voluntary, Galloway said, but 144 people "who are ready to change" have agreed to participate this year.

The program offers services such as mental health and anger management counseling, and job and educational support. Most people who come into the hospital system already feel traumatized, Galloway said.

"Coming to the hospital is probably the worst day of their lives," he said. "Violence is upticking. We need to expand the program to meet the need."

North Hennepin Community College in Brooklyn Park is using its $50,000 grant to cover the tuition and books for more than 20 students to take a new community violence prevention course.

Neighborhood HealthSource, which has a medical clinic in north Minneapolis, responded to community members who wanted more meaningful employment for youth.

Since these youth have experienced a significant amount of trauma, Neighborhood Health Source trained and hired several dozen youth for a peer education program on how to help heal people impacted by violence, said Tessa Wetjen, the program's director of community health.

"Youth have been terribly isolated during the pandemic with nothing to do, so this also gives them a chance to share stories with each other," she said. "I hear from 19-year-olds that say the gatherings are the most fun they've had all summer."

Wetjen said staff at the clinic at N. 33rd and Fremont avenues in Minneapolis deal with traumatic incidents every day. There's the violence in the surrounding neighborhood or a shooting that sent bullets through the clinic and into three cubicles, she said.

The grants allowed the clinic to pay the youth an hourly wage for attending the training and cover child care and Uber rides. The participants were 14 to 24 years old.

Many of the projects focused on building relationships in the community. Neighborhood residents and students from the Loring Nicollet Alternative High School in south Minneapolis are designing and painting a mural on the school building.

The Barbara Schneider Foundation,which advocates for mental health issues, started a young people's task force. The group initially talked about perceptions of public safety and how to create safe places that provide youth activities.

Later, the task force worked on leasing a space for activities in an unused school building in north Minneapolis. It also held a series of events, including an online youth summit, a fishing expedition and visit to a farm, and a school backpack drive, said Mark Anderson, the foundation's executive director.

The county awarded $400,000 — one of its largest grants — to Shiloh Temple International Ministries on West Broadway in north Minneapolis. The church has become a crucial resource in the prevention of violence in the neighborhood.

A team of outreach workers hit crime hotspots from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, and "literally ran criminal activity off the corners," said the Rev. Jalilia Abdul-Brown. The church also runs a food shelf with the hope of dissuading anyone from committing crime in order to feed themselves, she said.

The church also offers housing placement services, mental health counseling and healing circles, and mediation to break up gang conflicts, Abdul-Brown said. Last year, 1,250 attended its trauma recovery group.

"Shiloh is in a prime location to deal with the violence," she said. "Minneapolis has been working on the problem, but the county had lagged behind until now."