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On Tuesday, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America welcomed the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of H.R. 2476, legislation which would fund the federal Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) at $75 million for fiscal years 2020-2024 – a 25 percent increase over the 2019 allocation.

The Orthodox Union will continue to work for an even greater allocation of $90 million as proposed last week by U.S. Reps. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) as part of the Department of Homeland Security’s overall budget for 2020. The House Appropriations Committee and House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, respectively, recommended and voted in favor of the landmark $90 million funding – a 50 percent increase over previous funding.

The Orthodox Union Advocacy Center, in partnership with the Jewish Federations of North America and other Jewish organizations, helped create the NSGP in 2005. The program provides grants of up to $100,000 apiece to nonprofits in major metropolitan areas at risk of terrorist attacks to improve building security by acquiring and installing items ranging from fences, lighting and video surveillance to metal detectors and blast-resistant doors, locks and windows. Recent changes to the program also allow the funding to be used for training and to pay for contracted security personnel.

The OU Advocacy Center works with legislators every year to increase the annual allocation; for the past two years, the NSGP has been funded at $60 million. Of that amount, $10 million was apportion for houses of worship, nonpublic schools and other nonprofits located outside of major metropolitan areas. Until now, that has been the largest amount of funding in the program’s 14-year history.

The U.S. House’s $75 million bill allots $25 million to those previously ineligible areas, while the Subcommittee on Homeland Security’s $90 million proposal provides $40 million for them.

Said Nathan Diament, executive director for the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center: “We are very grateful for the strong, bipartisan support in the U.S. House of Representatives to keep our houses of worship and schools safe amid record increases in anti-Semitism and bigotry across the United States. We are especially grateful for the leadership of U.S. Reps. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) and other legislators for recognizing the need to increase this funding to $90 million. We must all work to do everything we can to keep our communities safe, particularly after the terrible attacks on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and the Chabad of Poway.”