Senate approves security grants for faith-based institutions, nonprofits

HARRISBURG – The Senate approved bipartisan legislation today to provide security grants to faith-based institutions and nonprofit organizations, according to Senator David G. Argall, who sponsored similar legislation earlier this year.

House Bill 859 would make grants available to faith-based institutions and nonprofits that serve individuals, groups, or institutions listed by the FBI as at risk for hate crime incidents.

The program is similar to the School Safety Security Grant Program, which helps schools meet a variety of security needs. Argall introduced legislation this year to expand the program and led legislative efforts to add funding for private schools.

“We have made a lot of progress toward protecting our schools and providing a safer environment for young people, especially in the past two years in the Senate,” Argall said. “This bill allows us to apply the same approach – and the same protections – to residents of our communities who suffer from the greatest risks of violence.”

Grant awards will range from $5,000 to $150,000. Faith-based institutions and nonprofits could utilize the grant dollars for a variety of security planning, equipment, and technology needs, including metal detectors, surveillance cameras, emergency communications equipment, electronic locksets, threat assessments, and building upgrades.

The amended version of House Bill 859 returns to the House of Representatives for further consideration.


Joshua J. Paul