Pilot Program Would Allow Vulnerable Groups to Receive Security Funding
Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, chair of the Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee, has introduced legislation aimed at increasing security at New Jersey nonprofit organizations determined to be at an elevated risk for attacks.
The bill (A-4253), which would establish the “Nonprofit Security Grant Pilot Program,” would provide a collective total of $500,000 annually for three years to help secure eligible nonprofit organizations deemed high-risk targets. Approved organizations may receive up to $10,000 each per year.
Quijano developed the legislation over the last two months through meetings with various nonprofit organizations, including synagogues and mosques, that are concerned for the security of their members.
“As I discussed this issue with different non-profits within and outside of my district, I began to see that members of these communities have a legitimate concern regarding their safety,” said Quijano (D-Union). “As chair of the Assembly Homeland Security and Preparedness Committee, I believe we have an obligation to ensure that they have personnel on-site who can prevent and protect New Jersey residents from acts of targeted violence.”
Under the legislation, an organization may receive a “high-risk” designation if it meets criteria already used by the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness for the appropriation of funds under the federal Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) Nonprofit Security Grant Program.
The federal UASI Nonprofit Security Grant Program provides funding for target hardening and physical security enhancement, such as video-security systems, alarm systems, cyber-security systems and physical aspects of properties of nonprofit organizations deemed high-risk targets. Grant funds may be used for specific training of security personnel but are explicitly prohibited from funding permanent or temporary security personnel.
Any non-profit organization located in New Jersey that is or has been eligible for the federal UASI Nonprofit Security Grant Program would be able to apply for this separate grant, regardless of whether it has received the federal grant at any time.