Funds help with protecting properties against threats and attacks

US Rep. Grace Meng (D-New York), a member of the House Appropriations Committee, announced Monday that she secured a record-breaking $180 million for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, the federal initiative that provides houses of worship (synagogues, churches, mosques, temples) and nonprofit entities such as educational institutions and community facilities with funding to protect their properties against threats and attacks. Meng secured the funds in the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill, which is expected to soon be passed by the House and Senate as part of the omnibus spending package.

The surge in funding would be for fiscal year 2021. It is a $90 million increase – doubling the funding from fiscal year 2020. Meng has consistently worked to increase funding for the grant program over the last several years, including a record $90 million for fiscal year 2020.

“This funding is greatly needed to ensure the security of houses of worship, schools, non-profits, and other facilities, and it will go a long way towards keeping our communities safe,” said Meng. “With government resources tight this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m pleased to have still been able to obtain these critical federal dollars. We can never take a backseat to safety. It must remain our top priority, especially following recent acts of violence and hate that have occurred across our nation. I urge houses of worship and nonprofits in New York and across the country to apply for these important grants, and I will continue to champion funding for this crucial initiative. I look forward to its upcoming passage.”

The grants, which are administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), cover target-hardening and other physical security enhancements such as barriers, gates, safety gear, surveillance equipment, and other safety measures.

The program is comprised of two streams of funds: the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), which consists of money for urban areas, and the State Homeland Securities Program (SHSP), which consists of funding for non-urban areas. Under the funding increase, both have received $90 million each.

The House Appropriations Committee funds all US government agencies, programs, and projects. In addition to serving on the full Appropriations Committee, Meng sits on the panel’s Subcommittee on Homeland Security which decides funding levels for the grants. Facilities may apply for up to $100,000.

In July, Meng announced that facilities throughout her congressional district in Queens received more than $1.7 million from the program. The Congresswoman also held a workshop in Queens last January to help local houses of worship and nonprofits learn about the program, and how they can successfully apply for funding.