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Senate hikes funding for nonprofits’ security, emergency food aid

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee increased spending for the security of nonprofit institutions and emergency assistance for the poor.

On Tuesday, the committee earmarked $13 million in Homeland Security funds for non-profit institutions next year — $3 million more than in 2012. The Obama administration and Congress had cut funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program from $19 million in 2011 to $10 million this year.

The funds allow for additional physical security measures and training for at-risk non-profit institutions.

Jewish groups have been allocated the bulk of the funding since the program was launched in 2005.

The committee also 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 foor and shelter funding represented a hike of $30 million over last year’s spending.

The added funds will 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.

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. 

"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," William Daroff, vice president for public policy and director of the Washington office of JFNA, said 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 JFNA board of trustees, 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.”

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