At Hearing Yesterday, Senator Hassan Raised Concerns from New Hampshire Houses of Worship Over Short Timeline for Applying for the Grant Program
WASHINGTON – Today, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that it would extend the deadline for states to submit applications for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program that allocates funding to help protect houses of worship and nonprofits from foreign and domestic attacks. The announcement comes after Senator Hassan heard from houses of worship in New Hampshire about the short timeline to apply for the grant, and raised those concerns at a hearing yesterday with the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security.
Senator Hassan worked with her colleagues last year to authorize and expand the grant program in order to get more funding to community organizations facing threats of violence. In New Hampshire, faith communities became eligible for this funding for the very first time last year.
“No one should have to worry about their personal safety when worshipping, yet New Hampshire houses of worship face rising security threats. That’s why FEMA has a grant program to strengthen building security, but many of these smaller faith organizations don’t have a dedicated grant writer – they have a dedicated group of volunteers doing their best to serve their communities and keep people safe,” said Senator Hassan. “I’m pleased that as more houses of worship and nonprofits in our state are eligible for this important grant program, FEMA is giving them more time to complete their applications, and I hope that the state is able to extend their deadline as well.”
Until last year, only houses of worship and nonprofit organizations located in major metropolitan area were eligible to receive federal grant funding to help secure their facilities against potential foreign or domestic terrorist attacks. Over the past two years, Congress began the process of dedicating a portion of grant funding for states to distribute to mid-size urban areas or rural areas. In December, Senator Hassan announced that the funding for the federal grant program would quadruple as part of the final bipartisan budget agreement. While last year, New Hampshire was allocated $150,000, this year, New Hampshire houses of worship and nonprofits will be eligible for $500,000 in grant funding. And in January, President Trump signed into law bipartisan legislation cosponsored by Senator Hassan to codify in law that grant funding for houses of worship and nonprofit organizations must be available for small states like New Hampshire, not just major metropolitan areas.