Dear Chairman Carter and Ranking Member Roybal-Allard:
Thank you for your service in ensuring that adequate resources are available to protect our communities from threats and disasters. As you consider programs that deserve additional funding, we respectfully ask you to fund the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) Non-Profit Security Grant Program (NSGP) at $25 million in the FY2016 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill. This program is vital to the security of vulnerable non-profit facilities.
As you know, the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, provides critical support for physical security enhancements to nonprofit organization at high risk of a terrorist attack.
Several recent events illustrate the vulnerability of non-profits such as houses of worship to terrorism and hate crimes. In April of last year, a pair of shootings committed by a lone gunman occurred at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City and Village Shalom, a Jewish retirement community, killing three people. Less than three years ago, a gunman killed six people and wounded four others in a tragic mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. In 2011, a string of anti-Semitic hate crimes targeting synagogues in Northern New Jersey culminated in arson when an incendiary device was thrown through the window of an Orthodox temple, that was the home of a Rabbi, his wife, five children and father. Six years ago, two synagogues in New York City were targeted by domestic terrorists, and a security guard was killed at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC in 2009. During a 2006 incident, an attacker shot six women at a Jewish community center in Seattle, killing one of them. In addition, preparation for high profile gatherings, like those that will take place during Pope Francis' visit to the United States later this year, illustrate the need for this funding.
Credible threats against non-profit institutions across the country continue to be a problem. These incidents highlight the continuing need for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which was designed precisely so that at-risk nonprofit organizations that serve as community centers can acquire and install equipment to secure themselves against a potential terrorist attack. These capital improvements include upgraded security measures, such as installing cameras, physical barriers, or controlled entry systems.
We strongly urge you to provide $25 million for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program in the FY2015 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill. Thank you for your consideration of this request.