09/14/2012 10:40 EDT | Updated 11/14/2012 05:12 EST

$10M in gang prevention funding not enough, NDP says

An injection of new federal funding for programs aimed at keeping youth away from street gangs and crime still falls short of what's needed to address the real problem, critics say.

NDP security critic Rosanne Doré Lefebvre said the additional $10 million available over five years is a drop in the bucket.

"It's not enough. The communities will tell you it's totally not enough," she said.

The government announced Thursday that $10 million in funding for new crime prevention programs aimed at youth would be available through the National Crime Prevention Centre.

Organizations must apply for the funding, and priority is given to those with programs aimed at preventing violence among at-risk youth, crime prevention among aboriginal youth in urban areas and prevention of school-based bullying.

Stephanie Beliveau, who works as a co-ordinator for Sortie de Secours, a project that helps Montreal's at-risk youth, said the funding is good news for the organization, even if the amount is not very significant.

She agrees it's nowhere near enough to eliminate the problem, but said her organization can do a lot of good with very little.

"New funding gives us a chance to help as many youth as possible and reduce crime over the long term," Beliveau said.

Senator Pierre Hughes Boisvenu said the Harper government is spending the money for very specific reasons – it wants to reach out to kids early instead of rehabilitating people later on in life.

Boisvenu said money would go to programs helping aboriginals in Montreal, youth involved in violent behavior and those in street gangs.

He said crime is rising among those groups.

In 2011, 138 crime prevention programs were funded through the National Crime Prevention Strategy. According to Public Safety Canada, about 16,000 at-risk youth benefited from those programs.