NJ Sets Aside Homeland Security Grants For Regions Feds Won’t Cover

CHERRY HILL, NJ (CBS) — A million dollars is being made available by the state of New Jersey to South Jersey religious and non-profit organizations to beef up security.

The announcement came at the Jewish Community Center in Cherry Hill, one of several sites targeted for a terrorist threat recently. Grants of up to $50,000 are available through New Jersey’s Homeland Security Department.

Parts of South Jersey are considered by the feds in making regional risk assessments.

But a policy on how some federal aid is handed out appears to be one-sided, according to Christopher Rodriguez, Director of New Jersey’s Office of Homeland Security.

“Per federal guidelines, nine New Jersey are currently ineligible to apply because they do not fall within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s designated region most at risk for terrorism,” Rodriguez told KYW Newsradio. “This is simply unacceptable.”

The guidelines direct the federal grant money be awarded to Pennsylvania, which then allocates the money solely within the Keystone State.

Congressman Donald Norcross (D-Camden) says he’s been working to get a policy change from the Homeland Security agency. Barring that, he will attempt to convince colleagues on Capitol Hill to force the issue.

“We don’t want to take anything away from Pennsylvania. We just want to make sure that New Jersey is included,” he said. “You use us as part of the assessment. We want to be part of the solution.”

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