WASHINGTON – “America’s Jewish community is under attack. Thank you for taking action to stop it,” Michael Masters, CEO and national director of the secure community network (SCN) told the House Committee on Homeland Security.
In a two-hour hearing, the subcommittee for emergency preparedness discussed the Importance of DHS security grants in light of recent antisemitic attacks in New York And New Jersey.
Last month, Congress approved to raise the security grants by 50% from $60 million to $90 million. After the antisemitic attack in Monsey, Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, said he’d promote a move to quadruple the Nonprofit Security Grants Program (NSPG), from $90 million to $360 million a year.
The program allows houses of worship and other nonprofits to apply for grants of up to $100 thousand for each institute. The money can be used for security measures such as fencing, cameras, stronger doors, and hiring of security personnel.
In his testimony, Masters emphasized that more funds are needed. “Last year was $60 million available. We understand that there was close to $170 million worth of requests,” he said. “We’re pleased the Congress increased the funding to $90 million this year to help bridge this divide. At the same time, we intend to continue to work to make sure more organizations know about these funds and how to effectively apply and use them. We encourage increases to the program to meet the need.”
“We are counting on you the members of the subcommittee to support the funding desperately needed to prevent further assaults and to train people on what to do in case of an attack,” Masters continued. “Without you, the faith-based community would be in greater danger.” SCN is the official safety and security organization of the Jewish community in North America.
He said that the program is critical, not just for the faith-based community, “but for the very preservation of religious freedom in this nation.”
“The threat facing the Jewish community are both complex and dynamic,” he added. “The Jewish community not only remains the number one target of religiously motivated hate crimes, but we have seen a rise in these events to near historic levels as well as increases in antisemitic incidents across the nation.”
Masters also pointed out that since the attack in Pittsburgh, law enforcement has disrupted over a dozen plots targeting the Jewish community around the country.
“NSGP funding has made our communities more safe and secure,” he said. “It placed electronic locks on exterior doors and Jewish community centers, cameras on synagogues and panic buttons in Jewish school classrooms NSGP funding is now protecting more communities in more places.”