WASHINGTON — Synagogues, mosques, and other institutions in New York are a step closer to seeing long-delayed federal grant money aimed at boosting security against terrorist attacks.
The Department of Homeland Security announced last week that it was releasing $24 million in funds for nonprofit organizations deemed to be at high risk for a terrorist attack. The move follows more than a year in delays for the program as officials worked to set guidelines for the grants.
The nonprofits have until June 22 to apply for up to $100,000 in grants for the fiscal year. The money is generally used to install surveillance cameras, sidewalk barriers, and remote-entry systems to houses of worships, museums, hospitals, and other facilities.
City nonprofits received $6.3 million in anti-terror grants in 2005, and about $2 million went to yeshivas and synagogues. The Museum of Modern Art and the New York Public Library have also been past recipients of the funding.
"It's high time DHS realized that our nonprofit institutions were at risk," Rep. Anthony Weiner said yesterday. Mr. Weiner, a Democrat, has long pushed for the funding. The Council on American-Islamic Relations yesterday encouraged mosques and other Islamic institutions to apply for the funding as well.
Under the federal guidelines announced Friday, criteria for awarding the grants include: prior identified and substantiated threats or attacks toward the nonprofit or closely related organization, either within or outside the U.S., by a terrorist organization; symbolic value of a site as a highly recognized national or historical institution that renders it a possible terrorist target; organization's role in responding to or recovering from terrorist attacks, and organization's credible threat or vulnerability, as well as the potential consequences of an attack.