Dec. 23, 2020 By Christian Murray
Congresswoman Grace Meng has announced that she has secured $180 million in federal funds to help places of worship and nonprofit entities protect their property against attack.
Meng, who represents much of central Queens, said that the federal funds would help improve security at churches, mosques, synagogues and educational institutions.
“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,” Meng said in a statement.
Meng secured the funds in the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill that was passed by the House and Senate as part of the omnibus spending package. The bill awaits the signature of President Donald Trump.
The funds are for fiscal year 2021 and represent a $90 million increase – doubling the funding from fiscal year 2020.
“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,” Meng said. “We can never take a backseat to safety.”
The grants, which are administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), cover security enhancements such as barriers, gates, safety gear, surveillance equipment, and other safety measures.
The program, dubbed the Nonprofit Security Grant 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.
Non-profits and houses of worship may apply for up to $100,000 under the program.
In July, Meng announced that facilities throughout her congressional district– which covers Forest Hills, Rego Park, Flushing, Fresh Meadows, Ridgewood and several other areas– received more than $1.7 million from the program.
The Congresswoman held a workshop in January to help local houses of worship and nonprofits learn about the program, and how they could apply for funding.