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$25 million available to strengthen security at nonprofit organizations


Thu, Oct 7th 2021 12:45 pm

Funding builds on $43 million in state grants that will help 362 organizations and bolster 872 projects to secure communities against hate crimes

√ State Police and Division of Human Rights rollout new online form making it easier to report hate crimes incidents, partner on public service announcement

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday announced the availability of an additional $25 million to help nonprofit organizations improve the security of their facilities to better protect those at risk of hate crimes or attacks because of their ideology, beliefs or mission. Available to those organizations that have not previously received state funding for this purpose, the allocation builds on nearly $43 million awarded to 362 nonprofit organizations to help boost security infrastructure and enhance preparedness against potential hate crime attacks.

"By their very nature, hate crimes strike at the heart of our democratic values and threaten to undermine the very tenets of our society," Hochul said. "By helping these nonprofit organizations protect themselves against these cowardly acts of violence, we continue to make public safety a top priority. Bigotry and hate have no place in our state, and we will do everything in our power to protect vulnerable people from those who would lash out against them due to their ideology, belief or mission."

In total, the state funding will support 872 projects across the state. These projects will bolster security at community centers, schools, museums and day camps.

Hochul also announced an expanded online reporting form that will allow New Yorkers to report bias and hate incidents occurring in New York. Her team said the online reporting form improves data collection capabilities and bolsters the state's efforts to track and respond to acts of hate and discrimination.

Her team added, “The announcement comes as hate and bias incidents continue throughout the state, many targeting Jewish and Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. While the number of hate crime incidents reported to police in the state represents a small fraction of total crime, these incidents are significant because they instill fear in the greater community of the victim.”

This fall, the Division of Criminal Justice Services will seek proposals for the $25 million, which is expected to fund approximately 500 projects across the state. Nonprofit organizations that previously received grants may apply for a new grant to bolster security at different facilities.

DCJS will accept applications for up to $50,000 per facility; each eligible organization may submit up to three applications for a maximum of $150,000. In addition, individuals who have been the victims of hate crimes can receive direct services, such as counseling, civil legal assistance, safety planning, advocacy, emergency shelter and transportation, from a network of 212 victim assistance programs funded by the State Office of Victim Services.

The $43 million in funding awarded and announced here is administered by the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. Nearly $30 million will support 608 projects under the Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes Program, and approximately $13 million will support 264 projects under the Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes Program for Nonpublic Schools and Day Camps Program.

Created in 2017, the Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes Grant Program provides funding to strengthen security measures and prevent hate crimes against nonprofit day care centers, community centers and cultural museums that may be vulnerable because of their ideology, beliefs or mission. Since the program's inception, more than 500 such projects have been supported by $25 million in state funding.

New Yorkers who are the victims of hate or bias incidents or who witness such incidents can use the new online form to report detailed information about the incident to the New York State Hate Crimes Task Force. Submissions through the form are monitored by the New York State Police and the New York State Division of Human Rights, which may follow up to determine whether a crime or an act of discrimination in violation of the New York State Human Rights Law has occurred.

The updated form collects information about the location, time and nature of the incident, as well as the suspected bias motivation. Individuals using the form also have the option to provide additional information, including photographs, videos or documents relating to the incident. The old version of the Hate Crimes Task Force's online reporting form did not collect a standardized set of data about each incident, and the new form will allow the task force to develop a more comprehensive picture of hate and bias incidents in New York.

The new form is accessible on mobile devices and is available in English, as well as the 10 languages covered by the recently expanded statewide language access policy: Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Italian, Korean, Polish, Russian, Spanish and Yiddish.

New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Patrick A. Murphy said, "New York is known for embracing and promoting diversity, however, there are individuals and groups who continue to threaten organizations based on their culture and beliefs. These funds allow nonprofit organizations to harden their facilities and increase security to help protect against hate crimes." 

New York State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen said, "Bias related crimes and discrimination are not welcome here in New York state and will not be tolerated. The safety of those we serve is our No. 1 priority. With this funding, together, we will work to protect those who are most vulnerable and at risk to these types of crimes. We want to remind the public that the State Police will investigate, to the fullest extent of the law, anyone who attacks a person or group because of their ideals."

CEO of UJA-Federation of New York Eric S. Goldstein said, "UJA-Federation of New York actively works to help ensure the safety and security of thousands of Jewish institutions. But philanthropy alone cannot address the current challenge, and we are deeply grateful for New York state's nonprofit security grant program. We thank Gov. Hochul and the state for its $25 million grant program announcement, which will significantly enhance the welfare and safety of all New Yorkers."

Managing Director of Public Affairs, Orthodox Union Maury Litwack said, "Gov. Hochul's actions today demonstrate her steadfast and strong commitment to combatting hate throughout the state of New York. We welcome this release of security funding and the additional grant funding which will help to protect New York families, communities and institutions."

Director of External Affairs for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn Vincent LeVien said, "The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn supports this funding to help protect all parochial schools and houses of worship. We stand hand in hand with all faiths to make sure parochial schools and houses of worship are safe."

The Division of Human Rights and State Police have also teamed up to produce a new public service announcement that will be run across several state agencies' social media platforms and on their websites.

Rabbi Yeruchim Silber, director of government relations for Agudath Israel of America, said, "Agudath Israel has long been in the forefront of battling anti-Semitism and all forms of hate. We commend Gov. Hochul for her forceful actions today. These funds will, with G-do's help, go a long way in protecting our vulnerable institutions."

Anti-Defamation League NY/NJ Regional Director Scott Richman said, "We were thrilled to be present for Gov. Hochul's appearance today at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. The governor's announced increase in funding for nonprofit hate crime security and a hate crime reporting system are essential steps for New York state in ensuring it becomes #NoPlaceforHate. We look forward to working with Gov. Hochul and other stakeholders on security initiatives and addressing incident reporting."

Under state law, a person commits a hate crime when they commit a certain offense while selecting the victim because of a perception or belief about the victim's race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation, or when they commit certain crimes because of such perceptions or beliefs. Hate crimes can be committed against individuals, groups of individuals, and public or private property.

The New York State Human Rights Law – the oldest state anti-discrimination law in the country – prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, credit and other jurisdictions, based on age, race, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, disability, military status, lawful source of income, and other specified classes. The Human Rights Law is enforced by the New York State Division of Human Rights.

Hochul’s team said, “There has been an exponential rise in hate and bias incidents targeting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in New York state and across the nation in the past year. One recent report has documented nearly 4,000 incidents across the nation since the inception of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.”

In March 2021, a virtual public forum hosted by the Division of Human Rights brought together community leaders to discuss the impacts of these attacks across the state. The 2022 Enacted Budget, signed in April 2021, contained millions of dollars in funding to support community organizations combatting discrimination against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

A hotline, 1-877-NO-HATE-NY, is also available so New Yorkers can call to report a hate crime or if they have knowledge of a potential bias attack. To report other issues of bias or discrimination, visit the New York State Division of Human Rights website here, call 1-888-392-3644, or text HATE to 81336. Those who fear for their own safety or the safety of others should call 911 immediately.

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