FRA announces more funds to combat railroad trespassing and suicide
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has announced the availability of $293,000 in competitive grant funds for Railroad Trespassing Suicide Prevention Program projects.
The notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) solicits grant applications from eligible organisations that focus on suicide prevention or mental health assistance, to implement activities to reduce railroad-related suicides. This includes non-profits and railroads. Selected grant recipients will be awarded a maximum of $100,000 each.
FRA Administrator, Ronald L. Batory, said. “Every year, hundreds of people attempt to commit suicide using the U.S. rail system, and data analysis suggests that 50 per cent or more of fatal trespass incidents are suicides. We believe that allied organisations working together can reduce such incidents. These grants will strengthen existing partnerships and create new ones to help deter and prevent needless tragedies.”
The NOFO exemplifies the approaches outlined in FRA’s National Strategy to Prevent Trespassing on Railroad Property, which the agency issued in 2018. This includes providing funding and helping develop partnerships among stakeholders.
The National Strategy to Prevent Trespassing on Railroad Property also includes data collection and analysis. While the results of the projects funded by these grants will contribute to ongoing research efforts, the funds are intended for organizations to actively conduct life-saving efforts.
Projects eligible for funding under this NOFO implement specific actions narrowly tailored for reducing suicides that involve railroad trespassing. Examples include training staff to identify at-risk individuals and intervene, raising awareness of services, and launching public awareness campaigns.
The grant funds were made available by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019 (Pub. L. 116-6), and the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (Pub. L. 116-94). The Railroad Trespassing Suicide Prevention Program NOFO is published in the Federal Register (06.09.2020), giving applicants 60 days to apply. Following publication, FRA will offer web-based training and technical assistance for prospective applicants.