Congresswoman Grace Meng has secured a record-breaking $180 million for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, a federal initiative that provides houses of worship and nonprofit entities with funding to protect their properties against threats and attacks.
Meng, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, 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.
“This funding is greatly needed to ensure the security of houses of worship, schools, nonprofits and other facilities, and it will go a long way towards keeping our communities safe,” Meng said.
The surge in funding would be for fiscal year 2021. It is a $90 million increase – doubling the funding from fiscal year 2020.
Meng is urging houses of worship and nonprofits in New York and across the country to apply for the grants, as she continues to champion funding for the crucial initiative.
“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,” Meng said. “It must remain our top priority, especially following recent acts of violence and hate that have occurred across our nation.”
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 consists 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 U.S. 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.