Members of Congress from New York City plan to make federal grants more accessible to nonprofits and institutions of worship for better security measures and even security staff.
Up to $90 million in enhanced grant funding is being promoted by the New York Congressional delegation after a recent wave anti-Semitic attacks across the five boroughs and surrounding communities.
“When someone applies for this grant, what it can apply to is a camera not only inward facing but outward facing which is important as it pertains to prosecuting a crime but preventing it. This grant can be used for security guard personnel,” Brooklyn/Staten Island Congressman Max Rose said. “This [grant] certainly is not a silver bullet, there is so much more that needs to happen.
Rose added that enforcement should be a “wack-a-mole situation” and should have a preventative approach as many of the recent attacks did not happen in an institution of any kind, but in the streets.
How quickly funds get rolled out grant recipients would be under the purview of FEMA.
“We have worked to secure, first in fiscal year 2018, doubling the funding from the year before to $50 million and in this most recent fiscal year to almost doubling it to $90 million,” Queens Congresswoman Grace Meng said. “This funding is for mosques, synagogues, churches and every month that we go around talking to our local nonprofit institutions, we still find more leaders who don’t know about this [grant].”
The announcement comes less than a week after the final day of Hanukkah, when Mayor Bill de Blasio implemented a heightened NYPD presence in Jewish communities across the city after attacks in upstate Monsey and Jersey City last month.
“The first responsibility of government is to keep our people safe… In New York we are experiencing an historic low in crime, but an increase in hate crimes,” Manhattan/Queens Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney said. “This important non-profit security grant… allows them to hire security personnel.”
Brooklyn Congresswoman Yvette Clarke said the funds will help the government take on anti-Semitism at the community level rather than a less focused measure.
“This is an issue we have to deal with on the granular level, in the communities where we live,” Clarke said.
Rose also said the New York delegation would continue to work to social media platforms accountable for hate speech and graphic content that is either never taken down or not taken down fast enough, such as the video of the New Zealand mass shooting at a mosque in March.
This story first appeared on amny.com.