U.S. Senator Charles Schumer announced a $360 million push today for the 2022 federal Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP), doubling the proposed $180 million funds. These funds should help fortify schools, synagogues, mosques, and other places, and respond to the worry caused by the Texas Synagogue hostage situation earlier this month. Schumer was joined by a broad group of NYC religious and community leaders.
Schumer declared in a news conference on Wednesday, “Our religious spaces — our churches, synagogues, mosques or temples — should be places of peace, not places of fear, not places of worry, and certainly not targets of attacks.”
Previously, Schumer doubled the federal pot from $90 million in 2020 to $180 million in 2021. Yet now, Schumer says, “I already successfully pushed to double this national pot of funds in 2021, but we will need more and we know this. That is why I am making a 360 million dollar push today, so that the nation and New York can tap these funds and help fortify places of worship.”
Schumer relayed that he already spoke to Senator Chris Murphy, who heads the subcommittee that allocates funds for the program, and called Murphy “very sympathetic.” Schumer also demonstrated his belief in this push by saying, “I am committed to using my clout as majority leader to get the increase that we are asking for,”
Schumer says that New York would see a large amount of this pot in 2022, as seen in 2021 when New York State received $33 million of the 2021 NSGP federal funding. He says there is a clear demand for the federal government to do more by helping religious spaces fortify their security to focus more on prayer, reflection, and hope for their congregation and our larger communities.
Rabbi Joel Rosenfeld, Director of Government Affairs for Bobov Community, spoke at the news conference saying, “Unfortunately, there are many hate crimes…with the vast majority against religious institutions and religious people. When a would-be terrorist comes and sees security and cameras, the whole area becomes safer- not just the institution itself.”
Rabbi Yeruchem Silber of Agudath Israel spoke about this need for more funding at the press conference and said, “A house of worship used to be a house of prayer, not a place of fear. It is unfortunate that people go to a house of worship and sit in fear, so we really appreciate this, and there is such a need.”
Borough Park District Leader David Schwartz also thanked Senator Schumer at the press conference. Schwartz said, “Right after the attack in Texas, everything went back to normal because a miracle happened and no one was killed. Senator Schumer instead asked, “What can I do more if antisemitism is on the rise. With this increase in funding, many lives will be saved.”