|The latest news from the State Capitol
Security Grant Program for Nonprofits Now Law
Faith-based institutions and nonprofit organizations will be eligible for grants to boost security at their facilities under a new law approved by the General Assembly and signed by the governor.
Act 83 of 2019 will make funding available to faith-based institutions and nonprofits that serve individuals, groups or institutions listed by the FBI as at risk for hate crime incidents.
Grant awards will range from $5,000 to $150,000. Faith-based institutions and nonprofits could use the money for a variety of security planning, equipment and technology needs, including surveillance cameras, emergency communications equipment, electronic locksets, threat assessments and building upgrades.
The program is similar to the School Safety Security Grant Program, which helps schools meet a variety of security needs. It will be administered by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. Applications are expected to become available early next year.
New Education Benefit for PA National Guard Families Available
Members of the Pennsylvania National Guard are encouraged to take advantage of the new Military Family Education Program, or PA GI Bill, which is now open for enrollment.
Under Act 32 of 2019, Guard members who commit to an additional six years of service can receive five years of higher education benefits for their spouses and children. The program will provide 10 semesters of tuition-free education for family member(s).
The benefit must be used at a Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency-approved educational institution, and at the tuition rate set by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.
Previously, Guard members only were eligible for the Education Assistance Program with their initial service obligation of six years that provides a non-transferable educational benefit. The expansion of this program to spouses and children will help more military families succeed.
Interested Guard members can apply through their unit to the PA National Guard Education Office. Tuition benefits will begin for the 2020-21 academic year.
More information about the program is available here.
Veterans Trust Fund Grant Program Open for Applications
The state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs is now accepting applications for 2019-20 Veterans’ Trust Fund (VTF) grants. Up to $800,000 in VTF grants will be awarded to nonprofit organizations, veteran service organizations and county directors of veteran affairs across the state.
Up to $150,000 in funding is available for new, innovative or expanded programs or services operated by the county directors of veterans affairs or the Pennsylvania Association of County Directors of Veterans Affairs. The areas of emphasis for applicants in this category are veterans’ outreach and veterans’ court programs.
Up to $650,000 in funding is available to veteran service organizations with 501(c)(19) status and nonprofit organizations with a mission of serving Pennsylvania veterans granted 501(c)(3) status under the Internal Revenue Code. Funding priorities for applicants in this category are homelessness, behavioral health initiatives and veterans’ courts.
Eligible applicants from either category may also submit applications for programs addressing newly identified, unmet or emerging needs of veterans and their families.
Since the grant program began in 2013, 155 grants totaling $3,732,860 have been awarded to organizations providing services to veterans in Pennsylvania.
The deadline to apply is 3 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 18. For more information about the program, click here.
Prepare Now for Winter Weather
Winter weather arrived in some parts of the Commonwealth earlier this week, reminding us of the importance of preparing for colder weather and winter travel.
Preparation is one key to successfully navigating winter roads. Prior to the winter driving season, you should have a mechanic check the brakes, battery, hoses and belts. Also, be sure to check your fluid levels, make sure your wipers don’t streak, ensure your heater and defroster are working properly, check to make sure all your lights are working, and ensure your tires are properly inflated and have sufficient tread depth. Pack an emergency travel kit as well. Click here for more information.
When it’s cold outside, try to stay indoors as much as possible. If you must go outside, cover yours ears, head, mouth and face; dress in layers; don’t ignore your body shivering; and check on infants and senior citizens to ensure they are warm enough. Click here for more information.
Finally, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) reminds residents to write down, print or save toll-free outage hotlines for your electric utility and/or your natural gas utility, which are listed on your monthly bills and posted on the PUC website. The PUC also encourages you to call your utility company if an outage occurs and not to assume someone else has already done so. Click here for more information.
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