October 07, 2009

Gillibrand Secures an Additional $4 Million in Homeland Security Money for Nonprofits and Commercial Institutions

After Bronx Bomb Plot Was Thwarted, Gillibrand Urged Greater Federal Investment in Letter to Homeland Security Subcommittee

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced today that an additional $4 million dollars in federal anti-terror funding to help safeguard civil, religious and community institutions from terrorist attack will be included in the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill, for a total of $19 million in federal resources. Gillibrand requested the additional funds for The Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) non-profit program immediately after a bomb plot targeting two synagogues in the Bronx was thwarted. Funding last year for the non-profit program was an insufficient $15 million. In New York State alone, only 55 of 137 applications were able to receive any funding at all.  

"New York's religious institutions and non-profit organizations are the backbone of our communities," Senator Gillibrand said. "No New Yorker, or American, should ever have to live or worship in fear of being targeted because of who they are or what they believe. As we have seen, New York City's places of faith, worship and community gatherings continue to be targeted by hatred. These homeland security dollars will help arm our non-profits with the resources they need to guard us from attacks and keep us safe."

In response to the arrest of four attempted terrorists targeting two Jewish synagogues in New York City, Senator Gillibrand wrote to the Senate Subcommittee on Homeland Security calling for greater federal investments for the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) non-profit program to guard New York City's civil, religious and community institutions against threats of terrorist attacks.

The UASI budget experienced devastating cuts during the Bush administration - providing insufficient funding to give non-profit organization the funding they need to protect community centers and places of worship.  In her letter to Chairman Robert Byrd and Ranking Member George Voinovich, Senator Gillibrand wrote, "Our community leaders and citizens need to know that they are safe in their community centers and places of worship, and we need to help provide them the resources to ensure their safety."

The House-Senate Conference Committee voted on the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill earlier today. The legislation will soon be voted on in both chambers, and sent to the President to be signed into law.