Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein Calls for Hate Crimes Grants Program to Include Summer Camps

The Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes Grant Program was introduced by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and received its first funding allotment of $25 million in 2017. Its purpose is to boost safety and security at New York’s nonpublic schools, day care centers, and cultural museums at heightened risk of hate crime attacks. The program is designed to ensure the safety of all New Yorkers by allowing eligible institutions to apply for grants which fund safety and security upgrades.

Now, Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein is requesting that the Governor consider expanding the program to include summer sleep-away camps as eligible institutions that would benefit from this program as well. “Every summer,” said Eichenstein, “thousands of children attend summer camps in upstate New York and elsewhere with woefully inadequate security and protection in many of these locations. Through this program, camps can properly update the security of their premises to include surveillance cameras, perimeter lighting, alarm systems, fencing and barriers, security doors, and other safety measures.”

As part of the Governor’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2020, an additional $25 million in funding will be allocated for this program. “We appreciate the Governor’s efforts in considering the safety and security of our families, especially in these difficult times,” Eichenstein said. “Now let’s take it to the next level and protect our children all year long.”

So far, twenty five fellow Assembly members have signed on to Eichenstein’s proposal. “I want to thank NYS Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and my Assembly colleagues who signed on to this for including my proposal in the fiscal year 2020 Assembly budget,” said Eichenstein. “Our children deserve to feel safe and secure no matter where they are. Adding summer camps to this program will provide an extra level of protection for the children as well as peace of mind to their parents. We are confident that the Governor will consider this a wise and worthwhile expansion of an outstanding program.”

Back in mid-January, Eichenstein was approached by sleep-away camp directors and administrators regarding the security issues upstate. Although he was just two weeks into his new role as Assembly member, he committed to advocating for this cause. While not necessarily located in Eichenstein’s district, thousands of his constituents relocate to these camps during the summer months.

Eichenstein began engaging with his colleagues in the Assembly about this matter and discovered that many of them shared his concerns. On February 8th, Eichenstein contacted Speaker Heastie requesting that the Assembly consider his proposal. This week, the Legislature officially responded by releasing their budgetary recommendations which include Eichenstein’s proposal.

According to Eichenstein, it’s all about safety and security. “We now look forward to a safer summer environment for thousands of New York City children,” he said.