Fed'l Homeland Security Money Directed By Congress In 04 To Protect At-Risk Non-Profits Awaits Allocation By Sac'to In Late 05...And LB Entities May Not Get A Share
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(Oct. 24, 2005) -- LBReport.com has learned that verbiage emanating from a homeland security office in Washington, DC, Sacramento or a combination of both may prevent Long Beach entities from obtaining a share of $25 million in homeland security funding that Congress appropriated for non-profit groups operating facilities at risk of international terrorist attack (religious institutions, community centers, etc.).
CA's share of the money -- $5,121,336 -- is awaiting allocation by CA's Office of Homeland Security, now expected in early December 2005
In October 2004, Congress voted (as part of the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security's FY 04-05 Appropriations bill) to allocate $25 million for use in "high-threat, high-density" urban areas for "assistance to organizations (as described under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and exempt from tax section 501(a) of such Code) as determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security to be at high-risk of international terrorist attack." The legislation was signed into law by President Bush on Oct. 18, 2004.
U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security spokesman Mark Short says the federal agency didn't support the Congressional verbiage (on grounds funds could already be allocated under existing grants)...but in the first quarter of 2005 did forward CA's $5.1 million to Sacramento for allocation by CA's Office of Homeland Security.
CA's Office of Homeland Security (OHS) proceeded to create a grant application process by which non-profit groups could apply for a share of the money. "Applicants may request support of up to $100,000 for target hardening of their facility," the CA application states...but adds in pertinent part:
Only eligible nonprofit entities that reside in one of the eligible urban areas are eligible for funding in this request for proposal process. All security enhancements must be to facilities located within the applicable urban area. Eligible urban areas are defined below: [indicated in table form as below]
|Urban Area||Description||Anaheim||In the state of California within the boundaries of Buena Park, Cypress, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Orange, Placentia, Yorba Linda, La Habra, La Palma, Seal Beach, Brea, Villa Park, Stanton, Los Alamitos, Westminster
|San Francisco||In the state of California within the boundaries of the City and County of San Francisco, the County of Marin, the County of San Mateo and the Golden Gate Bridge District|
|Los Angeles||In the state of California within the boundaries of the Core City of Los Angeles, Core County of Los Angeles and the following contiguous cities to the Core City: Alhambra, Beverly Hills, Burbank, Commerce, Culver City, El Segundo, Glendale, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Monterey Park, Pasadena, San Fernando, Santa Monica, Torrance, Vernon, and West Hollywood.|
|San Diego||In the state of California within the boundaries of San Diego County, including its incorporated cities and towns and special districts.|
So...does the "Los Angeles" definition include Long Beach? CA OHS official Keith told LBReport.com, "No I don't think it does."
So from where did the definitions of eligible areas come? You decide.
- U.S. Homeland Security Dept. spokesman Short said the CA application verbiage (as we read it to him) sounded like a mixture of federal and state language. He explained that when the federal Dept. of Homeland Security decides an area is at risk, it allocates funds to a Core City in a Core County...and leaves the final decision to local and state authorities which presumably have a better sense of details on where the money ought to go. It's better to delegate the final decision to a state and local entity that would have a better feel for this, US DHS spokesman Short indicated.
- CA OHS official Keith said the Core City and Core County are defined in federal rules...and are specified in federal Office of Domestic Preparedness Program Guidance. So the feds decided on definitions that you're applying? Yes, he said. So what will happen if LB entities submit an application? "They'll likely receive a letter indicating they didn't qualify," CA OHS official Keith told us.
The application materials (posted in blank on the CA Office of Emergency Services website) describe the eligible areas as defined above...and indicate the funding breakdown for CA urban areas for non-profit funding will be:
San Francisco $935,551
Los Angeles $3,750,000
San Diego $320,885
Perhaps because the non-profit application process is new, effectively invented in response to new Congressional legislation, the Anaheim urban area as listed in the CA application didn't include the City of Anaheim among eligible cities.
The application materials also state in pertinent part:
The United States Department of Homeland Security, Office of Domestic Preparedness, allocated this funding to, the urban areas through the state administrative agent based upon the criteria used to determine UASI funding allocations, which include credible threat, presence of critical infrastructure, vulnerability, population, population density, law enforcement investigative and enforcement activity, and the existence of formal mutual aid agreements.
The California Office of Homeland Security (OHS) will be coordinating the request for
proposal (RFP) process for nonprofit organizations. The State of California, in coordination
with its Urban Area Working Groups (UAWGs), will determine eligibility and selection
criteria for nonprofit organizations in each eligible urban area. A selection team composed
of representatives from the state and each urban area receiving funds for nonprofits under
the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) grant will be responsible for determining which
applications are funded and the amount of funding.
Under the grants, allowable costs would include security enhancements described in salient part as follows:
Funding for expenditures to protect nonprofit organization's facilities, located within the
urban areas, from terrorist-related attacks may only be allocated for target hardening,
which includes the acquisition and installation of security equipment, such as surveillance
cameras, in real property (including buildings and improvements) owned or leased by the
nonprofit organization, specifically in response to the risk of a terrorist incident.
This equipment is limited to items on the "Allowable Equipment Costs" list set forth in the
UASI Authorized Equipment List (AEL). From the AEL, only those items identified as
enhancing physical security may be purchased...
The CA application indicates that no non-profit entity can receive more than $100,000 of funding...and a selection team [currently being finalized] will forward a list of grantees chosen to receive funding by Nov. 30, 2005 [CA OHS official Keith indicates it will likely be in early December 2005]
The CA OHS application indicates eligible nonprofit groups have until Oct. 31, 2005 to submit and postmark their applications (new or updated).
On October 18, 2005 -- one year to the day from signing legislation into law that contained the first $25 million Congressional appropriation for non-profit entities -- President Bush signed the Dept. of Homeland Security's FY 05-06 Appropriations bill into law.
The latest legislation includes another $25 million for non-profit entities nationwide...but adds new language specifying that the federal agency's determination of where the funds should go "shall not be delegated to any Federal, State, or local government official." In addition, the legislation requires the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security to "certify to the Committees on Appropriations of the Senate and the House of Representatives the threat to each designated tax exempt grantee at least 3 full business days in advance of the announcement of any grant award."
US DHS spokesman Short said that although the agency didn't favor the new Congressional verbiage (on grounds state and local bodies would likely have a better idea than Washington of the most efficient uses of the money), it will be designing a federal application process that could be announced in roughly the next 45 days.
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