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$10M Added For Security At NY Religious Centers, Schools

Synagogue Photo Credit: Paul Bufano

In the wake of the deadliest assault on the Jewish community in American history, millions of dollars are being added to help protect cultural centers in New York from hate crimes.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced this week that a $10 million grant program to protect non-public schools and religious-based institutions is accepting applications .

The grant program comes months after $14.8 million in grants were provided to “help strengthen security measures and help prevent hate crimes or attacks against these facilities because of their ideology, beliefs or mission.”

Eleven people were killed at Tree of Life Congregation in the Squirrel Hill section of Pittsburgh during a baby-naming ceremony on Saturday. Following the attack, police in the area have been bolstering patrol around centers of faith.

"Following the horrific shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, we are stepping up our efforts to ensure all New Yorkers are protected from hate crimes," Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement. "In New York, our strength is our diversity and we will not tolerate hatred against individuals due to their culture, religion, or beliefs.

"This grant funding will enhance security measures at cultural centers, nonpublic schools, and religious institutions to keep New Yorkers safe.”

The grant will provide up to $50,000 in funding for additional security training needs, cameras and state-of-the-art technology, door-hardening, improved lighting and other related security upgrades at each eligible facility. Organizations that operate more than one facility may submit up to three applications for a total request of up to $150,000.

"Our diversity is also our strength. Schools, day care centers, and community centers need to be safe place where ideas, beliefs, and cultures are shared and fostered,” Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Roger Parrino Sr. added. I applaud Gov. Cuomo's actions to provide this funding to these non-profit organizations that could be targeted by nefarious individuals or groups just because of who they are or what they believe in.”

The program was introduced last year and the first round of awards were made earlier this year, providing $14.8 million in funding for 305 projects throughout the state.

"Here in New York, our diversity of races, cultures, religions and beliefs has always been our greatest strength and we need to protect that legacy," Cuomo said. "Hate crimes have no place in New York and this funding will help those who are targeted due to their ideology, beliefs, or mission to take additional steps to increase the security of their facilities and keep our communities safe."

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