On Monday, US Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens), a member of the House Appropriations Committee, once again encouraged houses of worship and nonprofit organizations in Queens to apply for funding to improve the safety and security of their properties.

Meng recently held a virtual workshop that provided information and assistance on applying for federal funds under the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, the US Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) initiative that provides synagogues, churches, mosques, temples, and nonprofit institutions such as community centers, schools, and other facilities with funds to protect their properties against threats and attacks.

The workshop helped houses of worship and nonprofits in the borough learn about the program and how they can successfully apply for funding for the 2021 fiscal year. These DHS grants, allocated through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), cover target-hardening and other physical security enhancements and activities such as barriers, gates, safety gear, surveillance equipment, and other safety measures.

This year’s deadline to apply for the grants is April 15. According to Meng, each house of worship-nonprofit organization is now eligible for up to $150,000 per year, up from $100,000. Those that submit applications from Meng’s congressional district are encouraged to contact the Congresswoman’s office for assistance and letters of support. The phone number for Meng’s office is 718-358-MENG (6364).

Meng’s workshop also featured a presentation by the Community Security Initiative, a joint program of the UJA-Federation of New York and the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRC-NY). A presentation was also provided by the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.

As a member of the House Appropriations Committee – the panel that funds all of the federal government’s agencies, programs, and projects – Meng announced in December that she secured a record-breaking $180 million for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program for fiscal year 2021. This boost came after Meng increased funding to a record $90 million in fiscal year 2020. The Congresswoman has worked to increase funding for previous years, as well.

“The rise in hate crimes and attacks has made these grants more important than ever,” said Meng. “It is critical for houses of worship and nonprofit entities here in Queens and across New York and the nation take the necessary steps to ensure that their properties are as safe and secure as possible, and the Nonprofit Security Grant Program can provide needed funding to help accomplish that crucial goal. As I have said, safety and security must always be the number one priority. As I did last year, I again encourage all houses or worship and high-risk nonprofits to apply for these important grants.”

In July, Meng announced that facilities throughout her congressional district in Queens received more than $1.7 million from the Nonprofit Security Grant Program.