Governor Kathy Hochul today at an anti-hate crime rally at Queens College announced nearly $16 million in grants to strengthen safety and security measures at buildings owned or operated by nonprofit organizations at risk of hate crimes or attacks because of their ideology, beliefs, or missions. A total of 205 organizations received 327 grants, which are available through the state’s Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes program and administered by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services. The funding will allow synagogues, churches, religious schools, civic organizations, and other nonprofit organizations to secure their facilities and better protect individuals and families they serve. Additionally, the FY 2023 Enacted Budget directs $25 million towards grants and increases the reimbursement cap for victims of hate crimes by $2,000.
“New York State’s diversity is our strength, yet too many New Yorkers continue to live in fear and today we say enough is enough,” Governor Hochul said. “Hate, racism, and xenophobia have no place in our State, and this critical funding sends a clear message that New York stands united against individuals who seek to sow hatred and divide us.”
The FY 2023 State Budget directs $25 million for Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes (SCAHC) grants. Additionally benefits will be expanded for victims of hate crimes, who will now be able to obtain up to $2,500 in reimbursement – an increase of $2,000 from past years. Also, under public safety and criminal justice reforms passed in the Budget, all hate crimes that are not currently arrest-eligible will become arrest-eligible if the individual is eighteen or older.
Recipients of these grants have facilities in 28 counties in every region of the state. Organizations that had not previously received funding or those that had not received funding for a specific facility or facilities were eligible to apply for this funding. The maximum grant was $50,000 each for no more than three facilities, for a maximum award of $150,000. The funding may be used for interior or exterior security improvements, such as alarms, panic. buttons, fences, shatter-resistant glass and public address systems, among other items. Funds also may be used to cover costs associated with security training.
Including today’s announced grants, approximately $83.1 million in total funding has been awarded to more than 600 nonprofit organizations to support approximately 1,700 projects since the program’s creation in 2017.
As defined by state law, hate crimes target individuals, groups of individuals or property because of a perception or belief about race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, religion or other characteristics. While the total number of hate crime incidents reported to police statewide is a fraction of all reported crime, these crimes adversely affect entire communities, not just the intended individual or institution. New York State monitors these incidents to identify trends and measures that address or prevent an increase in attacks.
Preliminary, statewide data for 2021 show a significant increase in hate crime incidents: 778 in 2021 as compared to 497 in 2020. Jewish, Black, Asian and LGBT individuals and institutions were most commonly targeted and those incidents contributed to the statewide increase. The 778 hate crimes were the most reported during the 10-year period from 2012 through 2021. It was only the second time during that timeframe when total incidents exceed 700; there were 734 hate crimes reported in 2012.
Division of Criminal Justice Services Commissioner Rossana Rosado said, “A hate crime against one New Yorker or organization is a crime against all New Yorkers. I am proud of my agency’s role in administering this funding and thank Governor Hochul for her commitment to helping ensure a diverse, vibrant and safe New York for all its residents.”
The state Division of Criminal Justice Services provides critical support to all facets of the state’s criminal justice system. The agency provides direct training to law enforcement and other criminal justice professionals; oversees a law enforcement accreditation program; ensures Breathalyzer and speed enforcement equipment used by local law enforcement operate correctly; manages criminal justice grant funding; analyzes statewide crime and program data; provides research support; oversees county probation departments and alternatives to incarceration programs; and coordinates youth justice policy.
The agency also maintains New York State criminal history records and fingerprint files and performs background checks for employment and licensure. The agency administers the state’s Sex Offender Registry; the Missing Persons Clearinghouse; the state’s DNA Databank in cooperation with the New York State Police Forensic Investigation Center; and provides staff support to independently appointed commissions and councils, including the New York State Commission on Forensic Science, which monitors and accredits the state’s forensic laboratories, among other responsibilities.
The state Office of Victim Services funds more than 200 programs across the state that Provide services, support and assistance to victims of hate crimes and other crimes. The agency also can provide eligible individuals with financial assistance for expenses resulting from being the victim of hate or other crimes. Visit www.ovs.ny.gov/connect to locate a program.
Representative Grace Meng said, “From safety in the subway and increased hate crimes to senseless gun violence and the ongoing mental health crisis, New York needs and deserves all the resources possible to combat the rise in crime. Public safety must continue to be the top priority for our city and state. Everybody deserves to feel safe whether on mass transit or walking down the street, and I thank the Governor prioritizing this issue.”
State Senator Toby Stavisky said, “Today in solidarity with our friends in the Asian, Jewish, Black, Latino, LGBTQ and those in need we speak with one voice. On Friday as the Jewish people observe Passover, which tells the story of the escape from slavery, we are reminded that the struggle is not over. The community faces hate on a regular basis. The Asian American community also continues to fight racism, bigotry and injustice. People do not realize that unemployment is rampant, people face housing and food insecurity and the highest poverty rate is in the Asian American community. This budget is our response to hate.”
Assemblymember Nily Rozic
Assemblymember Daniel Rosenthal said, “With hate crimes and anti-Semitic incidences on the rise, New Yorkers needed action over rhetoric. Governor Hochul has shown real leadership by ensuring hate crimes join the ranks of other heinous crimes which are bail eligible. Over the past few months, the Governor has taken a thoughtful and measured approach to public safety which is reflected in her attention to making New York a better place for all.”
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. said, “From our Asian American and Jewish communities to Queens’ Sikh community, as we’ve seen in recent days, far too many families have experienced the sickening and sharp sting of hate over the past two years. Bigotry and violence are wholly antithetical to our values as Queens residents and as New Yorkers, and we must leave no stone unturned to not only help prevent hate crimes, but support those who have been targeted or otherwise touched by them. I thank the Hochul Administration and our state legislature for making combating hate a top priority, as we continue to stand in Queens as one united community against bias in all its forms.”
Frank H. Wu, President of Queens College, City University of New York, said, “We are deeply honored that Governor Kathy Hochul has returned to speak at Queens College on major policies and for her exemplary leadership in strongly standing against the virus of bigotry, antisemitism and discrimination infecting our State and the Nation. We especially thank the governor and state legislature for negotiating a state budget that significantly advances the ability of Queens College and public higher education overall to prepare students to become successful leaders in our society.”
Asian American Federation Executive Director, Jo-Ann Yoo said, “Last week, I had the privilege of meeting with the grantees of our Hope Against Hate Campaign that Governor Hochul made possible with a $3.3 million grant. We celebrated the start of the work to build safety programs and community education in our community. We are grateful for this new investment that Governor Hochul has allocated that can be used by nonprofits, houses of worship, civic organizations, and other critical community organizations to address the safety needs of our treasured and vital institutions.”
Rabbi Joe Potasnik of the New York Board of Rabbis said, “Fighting hate crimes is a collective communal responsibility. The person who hates me today will hate you tomorrow. Thank you Governor Hochul for providing more fiscal support for security for our institutions and giving judges more discretion in hate crime cases. We of different faiths but of one family stand together when anyone is a victim of this heinous hatred.”