April 10, 2020

Senator Hassan Urges FEMA to Ease Burden of Applying for Preparedness Grants Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Earlier this Year, Senator Hassan Successfully Urged FEMA to Extended the State Deadline for These Preparedness Grants

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan is calling on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to ease the burden of applying for preparedness grants amid the COVID-19 pandemic, including for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program that helps to strengthen security at nonprofits and houses of worship.

 

As Senator Hassan noted in her outreach to FEMA, “Given the nation’s collective response to the coronavirus pandemic, including the constraints of social distancing, many applicants simply will not be able to complete their grant applications by the current state-mandated deadlines. Additionally, state level emergency management departments are already stretched thin responding to the pandemic and are therefore limited in their capacity to process these grant requests.”

 

The Senator urges FEMA to assist grant applicants, as well as the state agencies that must process these applications, by simplifying and expediting the application process.

 

The Senator continued, “Right now, the nation needs innovation and ingenuity at every level of government to ensure that we can face our current challenges and still be ready to address those ahead.”

 

Senator Hassan has been leading efforts help protect houses of worship from attacks. In a hearing with the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security in March, Senator Hassan raised concerns that she had heard from houses of worship in New Hampshire about the short timeline to apply for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program. A day later, FEMA announced that it would extend the deadline for states to submit applications for the grant program. Additionally, 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. Furthermore, 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. 

 

To read the Senator’s letter click here or see below:

 

Dear Acting Secretary Wolf and Administrator Gaynor:

 

I write to urge the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to ease the administrative burden for applicants, as well as state agencies that process applications, for the Fiscal Year 2020 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) competitive preparedness grants.

 

Each year, I hear from constituents that the competitive grant application process can be cumbersome under normal circumstances. Paperwork is convoluted, FEMA technical assistance is limited, and timelines are always very short. Toward that end, I appreciate that DHS and FEMA have already extended the deadline to apply for these grants until April 30, 2020. Now, as our nation faces a global pandemic, I urge you to find ways to assist applicants for the currently open grant application process for Fiscal Year 2020 competitive preparedness grants, such as the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP), which are slated to provide more than $300 million dollars.

 

Given the nation’s collective response to the coronavirus pandemic, including the constraints of social distancing, many applicants simply will not be able to complete their grant applications by the current state-mandated deadlines. Additionally, state level emergency management departments are already stretched thin responding to the pandemic and are therefore limited in their capacity to process these grant requests.

 

I ask that you instruct FEMA’s Grants Directorate to, where possible, simplify and expedite the application process to ease the administrative burden on applicants that hope to access this critical funding, as well as on the state agencies that must process these applications. Right now, the nation needs innovation and ingenuity at every level of government to ensure that we can face our current challenges and still be ready to address those ahead.

 

Thank you for your consideration of these requests, and I look forward to working with you on these urgent matters.

 

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