Rep. Gottheimer urges religious officials to apply for federal grants for security

Posted: Updated:
BERGENFIELD -

A New Jersey congressman is informing residents of federal money that is available to help houses of worship before a critical deadline.

Rep. Josh Gottheimer got a firsthand look at how federal grants are helping to secure houses of worship in New Jersey Sunday.

Applications for the next round of federal funding, which goes from the Department of Homeland Security through the state are due May 10.

After terror attacks on synagogues in San Diego and Pittsburgh, and at mosques in New Zealand, plus bibles being burned at a church in Warren County, security is on the forefront of worshippers' minds.

Gottheimer joined members of Congregation Beth Abraham in Bergenfield, which was awarded one of the grants last year and is hoping for another one for round two of their security improvements.

Last year, $1.7 million in grants from the Nonprofit Security Grant Program went to 14 schools, synagogues, churches and organizations in Gottheimer's district -- over a million-dollar increase from the year before.

Bergenfield Mayor Norman Schmelz says he's worked closely with Gottheimer since the congressman was elected. He says safeguarding the right to practice religion is a bipartisan commitment.

Religious officials interested in grant money can reach out to Gottheimer's Glen Rock office before the May 10 deadline.

The grants can be used to pay for private security or off-duty police officers.

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