Religious groups, schools to get money for safety

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(The Center Square) – Ohio churches, private schools, preschools and nonprofits can share $8 million in taxpayer funds for safety and security upgrades.

The money is part of a four-year effort that began in 2019 and includes more than $18 million in taxpayer funds the General Assembly appropriated for the grant program.

Gov. Mike DeWine said a significant amount of the money has gone to Jewish organizations throughout the state over the years.

“Without this funding support, there are schools, religious institutions, and nonprofits that would otherwise be left defenseless because they can’t afford the cost of security improvements,” DeWine said. “No matter where you worship or where you go to school, we want all Ohioans to be safe.”

Each applicant can ask for up to $100,000 for things that help prevent, prepare for or respond to acts of terrorism, such as surveillance cameras, alarm systems, motion sensors, reinforced doors, fencing, high-intensity lighting, and crisis communication systems.

Grants can also pay for contracted security personnel and security training.

The program differs from the Ohio K-12 School Safety Grant Program, which has given more than $215 million to nearly 2,800 schools for safety and security upgrades.

Also, DeWine announced $100 million in federal tax dollars would go to the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to combat opioid addiction and prevent overdose deaths.

More than $58.7 million of the $100 million will go to Ohio’s 50 county Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services boards to expand access to local prevention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery supports.

Another $16.6 million will fund community initiatives.

“Ohio continues to make good progress in our effort to stem the tide of opioid addiction, but our work is far from over,” DeWine said. “While the rate of unintentional overdose deaths is slowing, our work must continue. This funding will help us save lives and promote stronger, healthier communities.”

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