Gov’t cash to protect terror-vulnerable New York religious orgs
Funds to Install Cameras, Harden Doors, Train Security
Jewish and Muslim religious schools, cultural centers and day care centers are getting help from the state in defending themselves against hate crime and terror attacks.
Following Saturday’s deadly attack at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that religious and other targeted schools can apply for a share of $10 million in grants to fund security measures.
The grants, administered by the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, provides up to $50,000 to each facility for security training, cameras, technology, door-hardening, improved lighting and other security upgrades.
This is the second round of funding for the Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes Grant program, which was announced in October 2017. The money is directed to schools and day care centers “that are particularly vulnerable to potential hate crimes,” the state said in its announcement. The grant application says that the group served at the facility must be “at a significant risk of a hate crime due to ideology, beliefs, or mission.”
Saturday’s shooting, which resulted in the death of 11 people, was the worst attack on Jewish people in U.S. history. Anti-Semitic incidents surged 57 percent in in U.S. 2017, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Other terror-related incidents also surged in 2017, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks incidents of hate and bigotry.
Gov. Cuomo this week ordered the state police to “increase patrols around Jewish centers and houses of worship across the state.”
More Federal Security Funds in the Offing
At the federal level, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Tuesday called on leaders of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees to provide $60 million for FEMA’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program for the upcoming year. This would be the same funding level as last year.
Currently, the Senate has only allocated $35 million for this program, while the House Committee on Appropriations has approved $60 million.
“It is unacceptable that while hate crimes and anti-Semitism are clearly on the rise in New York and all over the country, Congress has yet to provide security funding that at-risk houses of worship and nonprofits need to stay safe,” Gillibrand said in a statement.
Synagogues, churches, mosques and Jewish Community Centers are a few examples of nonprofit organizations that could apply for these funds.
According to the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center, the creation of the federal program was spearheaded by the Orthodox Union, the Jewish Federations of North America and other coalition partners. The $60 million funding level for 2018 was the highest for this program since its inception.
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