BOSTON -- EPA awards Healthy Communities Grants to 14 community-based projects across New England. The grant funds total about $340,637 that will go towards community projects addressing environmental and public health issues in New England.
EPA’s Healthy Communities Grant Program brings together discretionary funding across many different programs to fund community projects that reduce environmental risks, protect and improve human health, improve the quality of life, and advance resilience.
This year there were a large number of applicants for Healthy Communities Grants. There were initially 70 submissions for applications. This year EPA selected 14 projects to receive grants totaling $340,637.
“The projects funded by the Healthy Communities Grant Program will prioritize environmental health in some of New England’s at-risk communities,” said Curt Spalding EPA Regional Administrator. “They are projects that are going to help reduce high asthma rates and improve resilience in communities that are vulnerable to climate change impacts like storm surge.”
The Healthy Communities Grant Program focuses on identifying projects in target investment areas, including areas with environmental justice, areas with sensitive populations, and areas that are vulnerable to impacts to climate change, stormwater runoff. Funding from the program benefits projects in communities that will, help communities understand and reduce environmental and human health risks, increase collaboration through community based projects, build institutional and community capacity to understand and solve environmental and public health problems like asthma and climate change, or achieve measurable environmental and public health results.
The University of Southern Maine was awarded $25,000 for their “Training and Technical Assistance to Increase Recycling and Initiate Food Composting” project. The project will train school staff about waste reduction methods so they can be coaches to the students who will implement waste reduction programs.
The Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission was awarded $23,640 for their “Emergency Responsiveness to Extreme Weather Events in York County, Maine” project. The project will design and conduct two local emergency preparedness workshops and tabletop exercises to test out community responses to events.
Partners for a Healthier Community was awarded $25,000 for their “Decision Maker Advocacy” project. Pioneer Valley Asthma Coalition (PVAC) consists of a variety of organizations and community residents that convened to improve asthma and environmental health conditions in Springfield and the Greater Pioneer Valley. Through this initiative, PVAC will expand its advocacy to school decision makers to create a school-wide understanding of the specific strategies to improve indoor and outdoor air quality at schools.
Massachusetts Workforce Alliance was awarded $25,000 for their “Green Infrastructure & Community Benefits” project. The Green Infrastructure and Community Benefits for Somerville Project will build on MWA’s previous work to promote storm water management. This project will culminate in the installation of an educational rain garden on or near the campus of the Mystic River Housing Development.
Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health was awarded $17,000 for their “Healthy Learning Environments” project. This project will improve public health by improving physical environmental conditions in schools and homes by reducing or eliminating asthma triggers that impair human health and can impact quality of life.
Blackstone Headwaters Coalition was awarded $25,000 for their “Stormwater Benefits of Urban Trees” project. This project will engage residents of two inner city neighborhoods in Worcester to understand the role that trees play in reducing stormwater flooding. One hundred trees will be planted in the Main South and Quinsigamond Village neighborhoods, education and outreach will be provided on the benefits of trees, water quality information and the impact of stormwater on water quality.
The Neighborhood Developers was awarded $25,000 for their “Chelsea Works” project. This project will pilot and test three approaches to community-based asthma health education, targeting primarily low-income, largely immigrant households.
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection was awarded $25,000 for their “Above Ground Storage Tanks near Merrimack River Drinking Water Intakes” project. This project protect public health and the environment by identifying, reducing and planning for chemical risks from commercial ASTs with a storage capacity fewer than 10,000 gallons of fluid.
Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation was awarded $25,000 for their “Fairmount Corridor Bus Shelter Living Roofs Initiative” project. The Living Roofs Bus Shelter Initiative will install green roofs on top of city-owned/or MBTA-owned bus shelters in different key locations along the Fairmount Line. Local youth will be trained to do the installations and maintenance for one year.
Nashua Regional Planning Commission was awarded $24,997 for their “Holistic Water Resiliency Planning” project. This project seeks to help municipalities become more resilient to the impacts that climate change has on their water infrastructure and vulnerable populations.
Childhood Lead Action Project was awarded $25,000 for their “Community Lead Poisoning Prevention Initiative” project. This initiative builds on the existing education, training, and community-building efforts in Providence and expands the work to East Providence and Pawtucket, communities with higher than average rates of lead poisoning in the state.
Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council was awarded $25,000 for their “Developing a Green Infrastructure Installation Training and Certification Program” project. One ways to restore water and habitat quality in the Woonasquatucket is to capture and treat stormwater before it enters the river. This project will develop a collaborative training and certification program for green infrastructure for entry level green infrastructure construction jobs.
Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity, Mobile Home Program was awarded $25,000 for their “Emergency Planning & Exercising for Resilient Mobile Home Park Communities” project. This project is to increase the resilience of mobile home park communities, empower residents to identify community hazards/vulnerabilities, understand potential implications from the Waters of the United States, and plan for emergencies through capacity building and technical assistance.
Northeast Recycling Council was awarded $25,000 for their “Creating Healthy Communities through Food Recovery & Composting in Vermont” project. This project will decrease food waste and disposal in Vermont by recruiting participants in the hospitality industry to implement food reduction, recovery, and composting. Additional venues will be recruited to join the EPA Food Recovery Challenge.
More information: EPA’s Healthy Communities Grant Program in New England: http://epa.gov/region01/eco/uep/hcgp.html