The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee earmarked $13 million in Homeland Security funds for non-profit institutions next year, $3 million more than in 2012, and increased emergency assistance for the poor.The Obama administration and Congress had cut funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program from $19 million in 2011 to $10 million this year.
In addition to approving the security funds, the committee Tuesday approved $150 million for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program in the fiscal year 2013 Homeland Security spending bill by a vote of 27-3. The food and shelter funding represented a hike of $30 million over last year’s spending.
The Nonprofit Security Grant Program funds allow for additional physical security measures and training for at-risk non-profit institutions, while the Emergency Food and Shelter Program funds would assist Americans experiencing financial hardship and potential long-term homelessness and hunger. The food and shelter funds are administered through non-profit groups and public agencies.
Jewish groups have been allocated the bulk of the Nonprofit Security Grant Program funds since the program was launched in 2005.
Both provisions were top priorities of Jewish Federations of North America, which together with the Orthodox Union and Agudath Israel of America has lobbied for the security funds. Additionally, Jewish Federations of North America serves on the Emergency Food and Shelter Program board with Catholic Charities USA, the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, and United Way Worldwide.
“Since September 11th, nonprofits generally, and Jewish communal institutions specifically, have been victims of an alarming number of threats and attacks and we are grateful for the Senate’s continuing support of the program so millions of Americans can learn, worship and live without fear,” said William Daroff, vice president for public policy and director of the Washington office of JFNA, in a statement. “The renewed investment in EFSP to help more families in need sleep with a roof over their heads, feed their families and keep their utilities on is also very welcome news.”
Kathy Manning, chairwoman of the Board of Trustees of JFNA, added that “protecting American families in need and institutions at risk is a vital goal of Jewish Federations and we appreciate that the government understands its importance as well.”