ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The State of Illinois is offering to fund local groups that can come up with solutions to an alarming rise of violent crime in Rockford.

On Thursday, community advisors, pastors, and elected officials met at a roundtable hosted by the assistant secretary of the Office of Firearm Violence Prevention at the Illinois Department of Human Services, Chris Patterson.

The meeting was held at the Rockford Public Library.

Earlier this week, Gov. JB Pritzker announced $113 million in funding for community organizations working to come up with solutions to stop gun violence.

“You know I’ve seen the numbers go up and the violence actually within the last month and I’m just like what can I do?” asked Tamica Fricks, teen director at the YMCA.

Fricks said she was relieved that many people besides herself recognize that there is a gun problem in the city, and want to take action to address it.

Patterson said residents want “to be able to support one another…to know that their governor has heard their cries.”

He said that’s why the State has created the Officer of Firearm Violence Prevention.

“It’s going to take many different approaches in order to address firearm violence, particularly around the state and places like Rockford,” Patterson said. “I appreciate violence interrupter models, cease-fire models, but we have to focus on our youth development, youth intervention, and working with people who are tied in the cycle of violence.”

Since Rockford has a higher than state average amount of shootings, outreach groups within the city are eligible to apply for the grants.

“As long as I can get them in and off the street, I’m willing to do it,” Fricks said. “So, if I’m up early in the morning, cooking a hot meal, getting it prepared, and staying late at night, then I’m going to do it.”

Rockford Police Chief Carla Redd and Winnebago County Sheriff Deputy Chief Tammie Stanley will hold a public safety forum Saturday, May 21st at 11 a.m. at Rockford University’s Puri School of Business, 5100 E State Street.