01.29.20

FOLLOWING HORRIFIC MONSEY ATTACK, SCHUMER, GILLIBRAND, LOWEY ANNOUNCE FEMA & DHS-LED WEBINARS FOR ROCKLAND NONPROFITS, SUCH AS SCHOOLS AND HOUSES OF WORSHIP, ON FED SECURITY GRANT PROGRAM; CALL ON NYS DHSES TO HOLD PUBLIC FORUM TO ASSIST ROCKLAND APPLICANTS ASAP

Following Push By Rockland Fed Reps, FEMA & DHS Will Host Nine Nationwide Webinars For Nonprofits On Fed Security Grant Program 

High Volume of Rockland Applications Anticipated For Federal Security Grants

 Reps: Rockland Houses Of Worship, Schools & Faith-Based Community Centers Deserve Every Chance Possible To Increase Security Measures

NYS DHSES Evaluates Applications On Behalf Of The Fed Government And Should Host Public Forum For Rockland Orgs

U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey today announced that, following their push, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are teaming up to host nine webinars on the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) between January and March to give faith-based, community, and nonprofit partners, such as churches and synagogues, across the nation, including those in Rockland, an overview of the federal NSGP. However, because the NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) works on behalf of FEMA and DHS to solicit, review, and score federal NSGP applications in New York, including in Rockland County where the community remains shaken following the horrific Monsey attack targeting Jewish worshipers celebrating the seventh night of Hanukkah, Schumer, Gillibrand, and Lowey today called on DHSES to host a public forum at Ramapo Town Hall for Rockland NSGP applicants.

“Rockland community members, who remain shaken after enduring a cowardly act of pure evil, should not have to feel vulnerable while sitting in their houses of worship, while dropping their kids off at school in the morning, or while heading down to the local JCC or any other local faith-based community center. Sadly, after hearing from the communities in and around Monsey, the fact of the matter is that many feel unsafe,” said Senator Schumer. “That is why I am pushing to increase the resources we dedicate to the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, and why I am urging the feds and DHSES to work directly with Rockland NSGP applicants by answering their questions about the various technical components of the NSGP application in a public forum hosted in Rockland County.”

“The attack on the Jewish community in Monsey last month was horrific; few things are more heinous than attacking people for their religious beliefs, traditions and culture,” said Senator Gillibrand. “In the immediate aftermath of the attack, I traveled to the community to hear from religious leaders and the Jewish community. From our conversations, it’s clear there is more work to be done to prevent anti-Semitic violence and other hateful activity, and to ensure that all New Yorkers can worship and live in peace. That’s why I am pressing for an increase in NSGP funding to protect places of worship and other nonprofits, and I am pushing FEMA and NYS DHSES to host a public forum in Rockland County to help our Jewish and faith-based community members secure these vital resources.”

“While we’ve always known the threat exists, the tragic attack in Monsey brought the rise of hate and anti-Semitism to our backyard,” said Congresswoman Lowey. “I heard firsthand the concerns and fears of Ramapo residents, community leaders, and the family of the most critically injured victim. Our friends and neighbors in Rockland County deserve the freedom to worship in peace. That is why I established a nonprofit security grant program for communities outside of Urban Areas Security Initiative jurisdictions in 2018 and increased the funding for this program by 300 percent. The work is far from over, and I look forward to assisting our federal and state partners to bolster Rockland entities’ efforts to secure these essential funds to keep our communities safe.”

Schumer, Gillibrand, and Lowey explained that, in the wake of the December 28, 2019, anti-Semitic attack in Monsey, communities in and around Monsey amplified their previous calls for additional funding to ensure that Rockland nonprofit organizations such as schools, churches, and synagogues are protected. On December 30, 2019, during a roundtable discussion that Gillibrand convened at Ramapo Town Hall, the representatives received direct input from Rockland-based religious leaders, state and local elected officials, and other community stakeholders. There, many community members voiced concerns that they felt vulnerable in their houses of worship or at their faith-based community center and feared sending their children to school. Furthermore, the delegation said, in the following weeks many Rockland-based organizations, including houses of worship, schools, and faith-based community centers reached out to their district offices with questions regarding the federal NSGP application. 

Following these inquiries, Schumer, Gillibrand, and Lowey contacted DHS/FEMA on behalf of the Rockland communities that they represent for more information on the FY20 NSGP and today they announced that DHS/FEMA will host nine nationwide webinars, including an overview of the NSGP, information on grant program eligibility and allowable costs, and a moderated question and answer session. However, the delegation explained, DHS/FEMA has continually stressed the importance of Rockland County applicants contacting and working with DHSES, the state agency that scores and evaluates all federal applications that are then submitted to FEMA.

Schumer, Gillibrand, and Lowey said that they anticipate a high volume of Rockland County NSGP applications and are therefore urging DHSES to host a Rockland forum at Ramapo Town Hall so that all potential NSGP applicants in the communities in and around Monsey have time to put together strong applications and anticipate any hiccups before the DHSES Request for Applications (RFA) to solicit applications is released. They explained that there are various technical components in the federal NSGP application that DHSES administers. The representatives asked that DHSES discuss the following at the forum: Prequalification, Risk Assessment, the DHSES E-Grants System, Registration with NYS Charities Bureau, Preparation of a Mission Statement, and Investment Justification and Scoring Criteria in previous years. 

Schumer, Gillibrand, and Lowey have long advocated for the robust funding of the Nonprofit Security Grant Program. As part of the recent bipartisan spending agreement, the representatives delivered $90 million for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program—a $30 million increase. In her capacity as Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, Congresswoman Lowey created the NSGP-S program with Rockland County in mind in FY18.

The Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) helps nonprofits, like churches and synagogues, prepare for and mitigate against a potential terrorist attack by providing critical funding to support physical security enhancements to locations that are at high risk of a terrorist attack. This program has improved efforts to keep at-risk nonprofit organizations safe by promoting emergency preparedness coordination and collaboration activities between public and private community representatives, as well as with state and local government agencies. Synagogues, churches, mosques, schools and other faith-based community centers, like JCCs, are just a few examples of nonprofit organizations that can apply for NSGP funds. 

The text of the letter to DHSES and the complete DHS/FEMA webinar schedule are below:

Dear Commissioner Melville,

As the Congressional delegation representing Monsey, New York, and the surrounding Rockland County communities that remain shaken following the horrific attack targeting Jewish worshipers celebrating the seventh night of Hanukkah, we write to request that the NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) host a forum at Ramapo Town Hall in its capacity as the state administrative agency that solicits, reviews, and scores federal Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) applications on behalf of the US Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency (DHS/FEMA). In her capacity as Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, Congresswoman Lowey created the NSGP-S program with Rockland County in mind in FY18, and increased its funding by 300 percent for FY20.

Following the December 28, 2019, attack on the Jewish community in Monsey that wounded five and critically injured two, the communities in and around Monsey have continuously expressed a need for additional funding to ensure that schools, yeshivas and synagogues are protected. On December 30, 2019, we heard directly from religious leaders, state and local elected officials, and other community stakeholders during a roundtable discussion at Ramapo Town Hall where many community members voiced concerns that they felt vulnerable in their houses of worship and feared sending their children to school. In the following weeks, many Rockland-based houses of worship, schools, and faith-based community centers have reached out to our district offices with questions regarding the NSGP application. 

After asking DHS/FEMA for more information on behalf of the Rockland communities that we represent, today we announced that DHS/FEMA will host a nationwide webinar series on the NSGP laying the foundation for a better understanding of the NSGP for Rockland organizations. Nonetheless, DHS/FEMA has explained the importance of applicants contacting and working with DHSES because, as our state administrative agency, DHSES scores and evaluates all applications which are then submitted to FEMA.

With a high volume of Rockland County NSGP applications anticipated by our offices, we ask that DHSES host a Rockland forum at Ramapo Town Hall so that all potential NSGP applicants in the communities in and around Monsey, communities struck by terror and hatred, have time to put together strong applications and anticipate any hiccups before the DHSES Request for Applications (RFA) to solicit applications is released. We ask that DHSES discuss the following at the forum: Prequalification, Risk Assessment, the DHSES E-Grants System, Registration with NYS Charities Bureau, Preparation of a Mission Statement, and Investment Justification and Scoring Criteria in previous years. 

We are grateful for the prompt action by DHS/FEMA in scheduling a webinar series on the basics of the NSGP for organizations across the country, including those in Rockland. We now strongly urge the DHSES to also respond to the community by answering their questions about the various technical components of the NSGP application process in a public forum held at Ramapo Town Hall so that Rockland houses of worship, schools, and faith-based community centers can continue to explore every avenue possible to increase security measures in the aftermath of the horrific Monsey attack on the Jewish Community.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

  

Sincerely,

 

Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) Webinars for Nonprofit Partners

Date

Time

(ET)

Webinar

Title and Link

Call-in

Line

Call

Code

January

30

2:00

PM

FEMA

101: Overview of the DHS Center & FEMA

No

call-in line; webinar audio only.

N/A

February

4

2:30

PM

Nonprofit

Security Grant Program Overview

1-866-454-4207

368026#

February

12

2:30

PM

Nonprofit

Security Grant Program Overview

1-866-454-4208

368026#

February

20

2:00

PM

Protecting

Your Organization: The FY 2020 Nonprofit Security Grant Program, and other Resources to Help Keep Your Facility Safe

No

call-in line; webinar audio only.

N/A

February

26

2:30

PM

Nonprofit

Security Grant Program Overview

1-877-446-3914

289309#

March

5

2:30

PM

Nonprofit

Security Grant Program Overview

1-877-446-3915

289309#

March

12

2:30

PM

Nonprofit

Security Grant Program Overview

1-877-446-3916

289309#

March

19

2:30

PM

Nonprofit

Security Grant Program Overview

1-877-446-3917

289309#

March

26

2:30

PM

Nonprofit

Security Grant Program Overview

1-877-446-3918

289309#

# # #

 



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