HARRISBURG, Pa, (WHTM) — Governor Tom Wolf has announced that there will be $4.5 million in new funding to groups in the state who have been the victim of hate crimes. The money is available to churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, and other nonprofit organizations that have been or could be the target of such crimes. The funding was made possible by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency Security Grant Program.

“Hate has no place here in Pennsylvania. But unfortunately, we’ve seen an alarming uptick in hate crimes across the commonwealth. These bias incidents tear communities apart,” Gov. Wolf said. “It is my hope that Pennsylvanians will rise up against hate, that we will unite to scorch the bias and prejudice that hurts groups or individuals solely because of their race, religion, disability, or sexual orientation. We, unfortunately, cannot rely on humanity alone, which is why I’m making this $4.5 million available for non-profit organizations to protect themselves.”

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According to data from the Pennsylvania State Police’s Uniform Crime Reporting System, hate crimes have increased dramatically in the Commonwealth. Between the years 2016 and 2019, the state saw an average of 88 hate crimes per year. In 2020 alone, hate crimes rose 33% to 111 and increased even more to 219 crimes in 2021.

“The Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition is grateful to Gov. Wolf, the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic and Republican Caucuses and the House of Representatives Democratic Caucus for their cooperative efforts to continue funding this program with the goal of keeping our religious and communal facilities safe from acts of violence and hate,” Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition Chairman Marc Zucker said.  “As demonstrated so tragically in the Tree of Life massacre in Pittsburgh and most recently by the hostage incident at the Beth Israel synagogue in Texas, there is a clear demand for protecting such institutions and those who worship there.”

The period to submit applications for the funding will begin the week of Jan 31. More information about this funding can be found here.