LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – Senator Eric Lesser and Representative Brian Ashe announce $27,280 in nonprofit security funding for JGS Lifecare in Longmeadow.
The facility had been targeted in attempted arson back in April of 2020, when Ruth’s House operated by JGS Lifecare was endangered by a five gallon gasoline container placed near the entrance to the assisted living complex. Longmeadow Police Chief Robert Stocks led the local investigation leading to the arrest of the alleged hate crime perpetrator.
“We were able to identify the person, however, it’s also a reminder that these crimes can occur in a small town like Longmeadow,” said Chief Stocks.
State Senator Eric Lesser successfully filed a bill for the security enhancements statewide, “Trying to do our best so that these facilities across the state can avoid this tragedy or the type of attempted tragedy.”
In recent years, communities throughout the country have seen a growth in hate incidents targeting LGBTQ+, Black, Jewish, Asian, and Muslim groups and organizations.
The Senator was joined by Representative Brian M. Ashe, Susan Halpern of JGS Lifecare, Stewart Bromberg of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts, and Longmeadow Police Chief Robert Stocks.
This funding was one of 53 grants awarded across the Commonwealth to faith-based organizations and houses of worship for vital security enhancements and protocols at houses of worship, community centers, and other institutions at heightened risk of violence.
Senator Lesser has previously been part of the program since its inception in 2018 and has worked to see its expansion from $75,000 in its first year of existence to $1.5 million.
Senator Lesser has also advocated for funds to provide security enhancements to nonprofit organizations and has spoken out against threats placed upon the Springfield Jewish Community Center in March of 2017.