Urban Environmental Program in New England
2006 Healthy Communities Grant Program
The Healthy Communities Grant Program was launched in 2003 and integrates nine EPA New England programs – Urban Environmental Program, Smart Growth, Children’s Environmental Health, Asthma, Community Air Toxics, Tools for Schools, Pesticides, Pollution Prevention and Toxics to combine available resources and best identify competitive projects that will achieve measurable environmental and public health results in communities across New England.
Torrington Area Health District (Torrington, CT)
Regional Asthma Coalition Healthy Indoor Environment Project
Torrington Area Health District seeks to promote and protect the physical and environmental health of the residents of the northwest corner of Connecticut. The “Regional Asthma Coalition Healthy Indoor Environment Project” will conduct public awareness and educational activities to improve indoor air quality and reduce asthma triggers among the region’s Latino population, with an emphasis on serving children under the age of five and the elderly population. Activities will include distributing Spanish and English educational packets through Charlotte Hungerford Hospital to new mothers, Women and Infant Care (WIC) program recipients, HeadStart families, childcare center users, women enrolled in childbirth classes, elderly housing residents, local media channels, and at several community events. Direct trainings will be provided for regional home health aides and day care providers, and at senior centers.
Measurable Results: Educational packets in English and Spanish will be distributed to 2,000 parents and community members on indoor air quality improvements, asthma triggers, and secondhand smoke, in both Spanish and English; media messages will reach 10,000 area residents through five newspapers, two radio stations, and two TV stations; measurable increase in number of Headstart children in smoke-free surveyed homes; measurable decrease in number of asthma triggers in homes of surveyed WIC/Family Strides recipients; 25 people enrolled in smoking cessation classes; smoke-free home pledges from 500 community members.
Partners: Education Connection Early Headstart Programs, La Via Latina, Family Strides Early Intervention Program, Torrington Women and Infant Care Program, Charlotte Hungerford Hospital Women’s and Children’s Service, Litchfield County Obstetrics and Gynecology, Women’s Health Care, Torrington (Elderly) Housing Authority
Connecticut Department of Public Health (Hartford, CT)
Sustaining EPA’s Tools for Schools - Connecticut School Indoor Environmental Resource Team
The project will provide Tools for Schools (TFS) trainings for Connecticut schools in small to moderate-sized cities, with a focus on reaching schools in the large cities of Stamford, Hartford, New Haven, and the Connecticut Technical High School system. Other initiatives include creating and providing new training workshops for custodians in several districts, holding refresher courses for schools which have been in the program the longest, providing additional radon testing training for member schools, supporting TFS team fall kick-off meetings at member schools, and completing and maintaining the Connecticut Tools for Schools website for students, staff, families, and administrators.
Measurable Results: TFS presentations held at 10 district administrative councils; 138 schools receive two-part training session for TFS teams, including shop-specific checklists for vocational schools; five schools receive refresher course for TFS teams; three schools receive TFS workshops for custodians; measurable evaluation data from all training participants and member schools.
Partners: Connecticut Indoor Environment Resource Team. Members include: Connecticut Departments of Public Health, Education, and Environmental Protection; Connecticut Education Association; American Lung Association of Connecticut; University of Connecticut —School of Medicine; Yale University; Connecticut Department of Labor Occupational Safety program; Connecticut Parent Teacher Association; Connecticut Foundation for Environmentally Safe Schools)
City of Bridgeport, Health Department Lead Prevention Program (Bridgeport, CT)
Neighborhood Environmental Action Team
The City of Bridgeport’s Health Department will expand its lead poisoning prevention program by hiring an environmental health consultant to train four high school students to develop and teach a curriculum for forty 4th and 5th grade students. The high school students will be selected through an essay-writing contest at Harding High School and will receive forty hours of training on ways to identify environmental toxins, effects on public health, and how to create healthy indoor and outdoor environments to reduce exposure to toxic substances. Both the high school students and the younger children they teach will create tools including informational posters to help reach and education local residents in target areas. The environmental health consultant will also host two workshops to educate high school students on lead and mercury poisoning issues. Informational packets will be sent home to the parents of participating students, and referral forms will direct parents to resources available from partnering programs.
Measurable Results: 400 hour-long curriculum developed by four trained high school students taught to 40 elementary school students; 50 high school students receive workshop education on lead and mercury issues; increase in number of children under 6 years old tested for blood lead levels; increase in number of lead-safe housing units; increase in family awareness of lead and mercury poisoning and risk reduction.
Partners: Bridgeport Lead Free Families, Bridgeport Lighthouse Program
Portland Trails (Portland, ME)
Building Community Collaboration, Sustainability, and Walkability in Portland’s Schoolground Parks
Portland Trails has worked since 1991 constructing multi-use trails within greater Portland, ME and serves as an advocate for the protecting natural places by engaging community participation in trail stewardship and providing programming for sustained use of sites. The project seeks to transform asphalt-dominated schoolgrounds into greener, healthier, more productive areas by developing a coalition of community members, local agencies, and local businesses which will reclaim and restore school areas into schoolground-parks in Portland as centers for community gathering, environmental education, and stewardship. The project will work with residents, schools, youth and community partners to undertake substantial redesign and renovation of at least three schoolground-parks. A Schoolground Greening Conference will also be held to educate, engage and inform Portland residents about the greening of schoolground-parks and teach key principles of environmental stewardship in urban areas. The coalition will also seek to further expand its outreach through newsletters, press releases, monthly meetings, new members, email lists, and an expanded website to reach more residents in Maine.
Measurable Results: At least three restored schoolground-parks, serving a minimum total of 800 students and their families; at least three community workdays to involve residents in project construction; at least three public events to invite the Portland community into newly greened sites for safe and productive use; expanded mailing list to reach at least 1,000 community members and businesses; expanded website with educational articles and links on environmental and social benefits of greener schoolground-parks; an educational conference to reach over 100 community residents; increased walking and biking to sites by residents and students.
Partners: Portland Public Schools, Portland Parks & Recreation Department, Maine Association of Landscape Architects, University of Maine Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners in the Schools Program, Cultivating Community, GrowSmart Maine, Portland Water District, Portland Educational Partnership, Portland Public Health, Greater Portland Neighborhoods Coalition
Maine Indoor Air Quality Council (Augusta, ME)
Tribal Housing Construction for Indoor Air Quality: Ventilating New and Existing Homes
The State of Maine does not require municipalities or tribal communities to adhere to a residential building code, so the Maine Indoor Air Quality Council (MIAQC) has tried to address this concern through trainings for construction professionals on air quality and ventilation problems. The MIAQC currently provides a half-day training to private construction contractors entitled Ventilating New and Existing Homes on critical housing construction practices to control indoor air quality pollutants that can affect occupant health. The “Tribal Housing Construction for Indoor Air Quality” project will modify and expand this training to reach in-state affordable housing construction professionals, specifically tribal contractors and those working in Native American tribal members housing. This effort will help improve the quality of the indoor environment in new and existing tribal homes. Three trainings will be provided on indoor air quality issues and ventilation techniques to over 100 affordable housing professionals, volunteers, and product suppliers who live and/or work in at-risk tribal communities in Maine.
Measurable Results: Three presentations of MIAQC training program Ventilating New & Existing Homes, modified to meet tribal needs, for 45 total tribal housing project directors, contractors, and staff; training of 65 local community residential construction professionals; evaluative survey information pre- and post-training, and 3-6 months after training, gathered from all participants; 700 tribal households given access to professional, technical information on exposure to indoor environmental contaminants; reduced utility bills and lessened health risk in properly ventilated tribal homes.
Partners: Indian Health Service: Native American Tribes in Penobscot, Aroostock, and Washington Counties, Maine
Mattapan Community Development Corporation (Mattapan, MA)
Ending Lead Poisoning in Mattapan: Involving Youth in the Fight Against Lead
The Mattapan Community Development Corporation has been working since 1996 to ensure that local residents have access to healthy, affordable housing by focusing on economic, social, and environmental issues facing the community. Since 1993, the Lead Action Collaborative has been fighting to eliminate childhood lead poisoning throughout Boston. The two organizations are partners in a diverse and broad coalition working to implement the “Ending Lead Poisoning in Mattapan” project, which will identify and target families in high risk housing before poisonings occur and raise youth and family awareness of risks presented by lead and ways to prevent and reduce exposure. The project will educate and train Mattapan community youth on lead issues and train them to deploy the Community Assessment Tool (CAT) to evaluate exterior residential lead hazards and identify highest risk sites in the community for further action. A teacher from Mattapan Citizens School will be trained on lead and lead risks and will assist in school education, outreach and training throughout Mattapan to reach other teachers, students and families. Information on available lead poisoning and de-leading resources will be provided to families through neighborhood associations, community groups, and the press.
Measurable Results: CAT assessments of 1000 Mattapan properties and identification of remaining highest risk areas for childhood lead poisoning; measurable increase in teachers educated about lead and teaching students about lead risks; measurable reduction in elevated blood lead levels within the four local census tracts being targeted and throughout Boston neighborhoods.
Partners: Lead Action Collaborative, Mattapan Board of Trade, Colorado Street Citizens Group, Boston Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program
EarthWorks (Roxbury, MA)
Campaign for a Greener Tomorrow
EarthWorks engages residents of Greater Boston’s urban neighborhoods in the community stewardship of local green space and raises ecological awareness through education, outreach, training and demonstration projects. EarthWorks will provide training, education, and hands-on learning experiences for residents and youth to protect, enhance, restore and preserve Boston’s open and green space. The “Campaign for a Greener Tomorrow” project will recruit, educate, and train resident volunteers to act as stewards of public green space and orchards at seven urban sites throughout the highly diverse, densely populated neighborhoods of Mission Hill, Mattapan, Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, and Roslindale. EarthWorks staff will work with residents and teen interns to measurably improve the ecological health and biodiversity of these sites through hands-on training, environmental service learning projects, and follow-up activities to illustrate integrated pest management, reduction of toxics in soil, organic agriculture, and orchard preservation. In addition to coordinating this extensive volunteer resident network and training effort, EarthWorks will provide environmental and public service events for youth and urban residents to encourage safe use of Boston’s public green spaces and orchards.
Measurable Results: Increased community involvement with a minimum of 40 project days and 240 days of environmental service; two internships for teen graduates of Youth Environmental Action program; restoring and improving plant biodiversity at seven sites covering 33.25 acres of urban green space by planting 230 native trees and shrubs; removal of thousands of harmful invasive species at four urban woodlands restoring 31 acres; reversing erosion at an urban woodland site; measurable improvements in quality and yield of fruit in five urban orchards; and establish 6-24 resident stewards.
Partners: Boston Parks and Recreation Department, Boston Food Not Bombs, Mass Audubon Boston Nature Center, Friends of Nira Rock, Roslindale Wetlands Task Force
Massachusetts Watershed Coalition (Leominster, MA)
Monoosnoc Brook Restoration
The Massachusetts Watershed Coalition has worked since 1991 to protect, manage, and restore the Commonwealth’s river systems by strengthening community groups, building partnerships, raising public awareness of watershed issues, and improving policy decisions affecting rivers and watersheds. The “Monoosnoc Brook Restoration” project will assess and improve water quality through sampling, education, and training urban residents and in Leominster. These efforts will generate data, create tools and inspire local action to reduce non-point source pollution and improve water quality through community projects. A diverse coalition of partners will work with municipal officials to implement best management practices, reduce discharges of pollutants from streets and parking lots, and explore low impact development ordinances and regulations to better protect local water resources. Neighborhood volunteers will be recruited, educated, and trained to conduct water quality monitoring to track improvements to water quality and aquatic life, create outreach and education tools, and design a watershed/stream protection guidebook and education video for public distribution.
Measurable Results: Install structural and non-structural stormwater best management practices for at least ten sites in the Rockwell Pond drainage area; measurable improvements to drainage system through catch basin cleaning and street sweeping; ongoing water quality monitoring program to assess Brook pollution established by recruiting, educating, and training 15 residents in water sampling and biologic assessments; education and outreach to 800 school students and their families, 5,000 watershed households, 80 municipal officers, and 50 local businesses; video on preventing non-point source pollution produced and distributed; create and distribute 300 copies of stream restoration guide.
Partners: Leominster Land Trust, Nashua River Watershed Association, Leominster Department of Public Works
Health Department, Town of Wareham (Wareham, MA)
Smoke-Free Homes Campaign
The project will train staff and partners to involve their clients in a smoke-free pledge campaign, which will provide smokers with Smoke-Free Homes kits in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. Focus groups will be conducted with clients who signed the pledge and those who did not, to discuss challenges and barriers to maintaining smoke-free homes which reduces family exposure to indoor toxics and improves the quality of the indoor environment. A town media campaign will also be developed and deployed which will include posters, press releases, and town bus advertisements to raise public awareness about Smoke-Free Homes and available resources.
Measurable Results: Training of 70 partnering staff at four training sessions; at least 466 interventions over the course of the year; at least 245 families will pledge to maintain smoke-free homes, with monthly follow-ups to check progress; 75% of pledging families will remain in smoke-free homes after 1 year; all smokers will be referred to smoking cessation services; focus groups conducted with 8-12 enrollees and 8-12 non-enrollees to determine motivation for and barriers against participation in the campaign.
Partners: Cape Cod Child Development Program (Wareham Head Start), Wareham Child Care, Little Peoples’ College, Wareham Women and Infant Care Program
Lexington Public Schools (Lexington, MA)
Healthy Schools: Inside and Out Automated Training and Mentoring Program
The project will improve indoor air quality in all Lexington Public Schools (LPS) by implementing Tools for Schools (TFS) training, improving IAQ procedures, and implementing an IAQ monitoring and reporting system which will improve the quality of the indoor environment for local children and school staff. The project will also develop a paperless, automated Tools for Schools system to increase the program’s efficiency, sustainability, and accessibility of data for patrons.
Measurable Results: Development of automated TFS system serving nine schools, 6,300 students, and 1,000 employees; develop PowerPoint training and communication tools to educate school staff on IAQ issues; Lexington-based program will be converted to regionally based TFS program; Lexington Green Pages website developed for use as a TFS resource and for region-wide online discussions of school IAQ issues; development and implementation of training and mentoring program for school staff in TFS database program; 5 Year IAQ Assessment Schedule for school use submitted to EPA for possible integration into TFS; annual LPS information events; and conversion of cleaning products to green products through staff education.
Partners: Stand for Children, Lexington Education Association, Town of Lexington
City Sprouts (Cambridge, MA)
Environmental Education in Schoolyard Gardens
City Sprouts provides Cambridge’s urban public school communities with sustainable gardens to support school curricula and engage over 2,000 school children to participate in the food cycle from seed to compost, offering after-school and summer programs as well as school-year curriculum-based programs. The “Environmental Education in Schoolyard Gardens” project will provide the community with three-season access to all five of City Sprouts’ urban schoolyard garden sites, as well as with education in the skills needed to grow one’s own food and the knowledge how to deploy integrated pest management techniques which reduces exposure to toxics. Youth interns, City Sprouts staff and community volunteers will supervise garden maintenance and summer educational workshops to reach a broad local audience. Twenty public workshops will be offered at no cost over the course of two years for community members to attend, and eight families will be specifically trained in comprehensive urban gardening techniques.
Measurable Results: 600 people reached by educational materials; 300 people actively engaged in environmental stewardship practices; 20 free public educational workshops given at each of five sites on topics including growing and preparing vegetables and fruits, composting, recycling, identifying soil toxins, and soil remediation; open community garden provided for 70 weeks over two years, through spring, summer and fall at each of five sites; eight families trained in comprehensive approaches to healthy urban environments in homes and gardens; 10 youth interns receive training and education about urban environmental concerns, gardening, and community outreach; educational activities on composting presented in school cafeterias; annual harvest festival connects community members to resources provided by project partners.
Partners: Cambridge Public Schools, Cambridge Recycling (division of Cambridge Department of Public Works), The Food Project
The Medical Foundation (Roxbury, MA)
Improving Asthma Data & Outcomes in New England
The Asthma Regional Council (ARC) brings together leaders from the environmental, education, public health, community development, and housing fields to identify priorities and work towards a reduction in asthma and the effect of the disease on children and families. The ARC will continue in its established role by convening council meetings and producing a newsletter to report on progress in target areas. In addition, the ARC will work to develop a region-wide policy report on improved data mining strategies to better understand asthma prevalence. ARC will also initiate a business case study for documenting the value of comprehensive asthma education and trigger reduction to become a reimbursable medical service. The ARC will continue to work with its diverse partners to identify best practices, lessons learned, and create a forum for continued dialogue around asthma in New England.
Measures of Success: One ARC Council meeting with at least 50 stakeholders representing the six New England states; one Innovations newsletter reaching at least 300 organizations; one policy report on improved data mining strategies; one business case study for comprehensive asthma education and trigger reduction; four conference calls; two workshops; and a needs assessment of Asthma Control Managers across New England to identify areas for future action.
Partners: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, University of Massachusetts, Lowell Environmental Health Initiative; and the Boston Area Tobacco Control Coalition.
Cultivating Community (Portland, ME)
Healthy Landscapes for Affordable Housing
The project seeks to develop information and guidance on creating healthy home landscapes affordably, and to broadly distribute the information in electronic format to key stakeholders in affordable housing in Boston, MA and Portland, ME. In a one-day workshop, a diverse set of stakeholders will convene to present information on environmental health and landscape issues and to collaboratively produce a sample design for an affordable housing site. The information gathered at this workshop will be compiled into an illustrated guidance document to be distributed through existing websites to programs that design or promote green landscapes, particularly at affordable housing sites.
Measurable Results: Four documented new partnerships between non-profit green and healthy organizations and affordable housing agencies; two healthy landscape projects in planning or under production at affordable housing sites that include residents in the design and planning; increased network strength between partners of 50% as indicated by survey; guidance document available on 75% of partner’s websites and additional promotion of document by partners.
Partners: EarthWorks Boston, Portland Trails, Maine Indoor Air Quality Council, New Ecology, New England Wildflower Society, Maine State Housing Agency, Massachusetts Department of Housing and Development, City of Portland, City of Boston, Portland Housing Authority, Boston Housing Authority
New Hampshire Department of Environment Services (Concord, NH)
Women’s Fish Consumption and Mercury Awareness Outreach
New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) manages environmental programs to support the protection of air, land, and water for New Hampshire residents. NHDES has been a leader in local mercury education and outreach including the distribution of the advisory brochure “Is it Safe to Eat the Fish We Catch.” The brochure has not traditionally included important information on the known health benefits of safe fish consumption for pregnant women which has resulted in a decline of overall fish consumption rates. The “Women’s Fish Consumption and Mercury Awareness Outreach” project seeks to upgrade existing materials to correct the risk perception regarding mercury and fish consumption through a social marketing strategy, including the production and distribution of materials emphasizing the health benefits of fish consumption while still maintaining information on ways to reduce risk from mercury. Through this effort, women will have the information they need to make informed choices, reduce health risks, and improve their quality of life.
Measurable Results: Development of new outreach and education campaign; distribution of materials through at least 80 health care providers, distribution of 10,000 brochures to 100 health care provider offices to reach residents at risk.
Partners: New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission, Dartmouth Toxic Metals Research Program
Good Beginnings of Sullivan County (Claremont, NH)
Asthma Interventions for Sullivan County Children
Good Beginnings provides health education and support to parents to help ensure the healthy development of children and families in Sullivan County. The Asthma Interventions project will improve asthma patient self-management by giving nurses and families the knowledge and ability to reduce and control exposure to environmental triggers in their homes. The project will provide training to community physicians and childcare providers in asthma trigger reduction and elimination which will improve indoor environmental conditions and reduce the severity and frequency of asthma attacks in target areas. The project will also design and deploy a local media campaign including radio public service announcements, flyers, newsletters, monthly e-mail campaigns, and quarterly public access TV programs to reach Sullivan County residents.
Measurable Results: Three project nurses and five parent educators receive three full days of training as asthma counselors and ongoing supervision and assistance from partnering doctors; indoor environments of 150 homes are assessed, serving 200 children; 95% of parents report making changes to reduce/eliminate triggers; 95% of children have reduced exposure to asthma triggers at home; 100% of identified children are referred to local physicians; one annual training for 15 medical professionals; one annual training for 20 childcare providers; four annual education and support sessions for 30 parents of children with asthma; one annual asthma education program for three established parent support groups; one annual community education event for the public; 100 at home assessments distributed at all events; media campaign including 6 radio public service announcements, flyers, 18+ newsletters, monthly email campaigns, and quarterly public access TV programs, reaching a total audience of 18,000 Sullivan County residents; participant evaluations compiled to be shared with State of NH Department of Maternal and Child Health for possible project replication.
Partners: Sullivan County Tobacco Prevention and Control Coalition, Claremont-Newport Healthy Homes
East Bay Community Action Program (Newport, RI)
Newport Healthy Residents, Healthy Homes
East Bay Community Action Program (EBCAP) provides health, social, and community services to the residents of Rhode Island’s East Bay. EBCAP focuses on environmental health and asthma as two key areas for improvement in resident health in public housing. The “Newport Healthy Residents, Healthy Homes” project will develop and provide a model to the Newport Housing Authority (NHA) for use in assessing and reducing asthma and environmental health issues facing residents in public housing. The project will convene and support an active workgroup on resident health and environmental quality in NHA housing, develop a tool to assess current environmental conditions and asthma burden in public housing units, establish Healthy Homes Response Teams to connect families to appropriate resources and promote better environmental practices in NHA, and promote the “Healthy Homes, Healthy Residents” model for use in other Rhode Island cities. The project ultimately aims to fully incorporate these tools and practices into the regular procedures and operations of the Newport Housing Authority to service public housing residents.
Measurable Results: Workgroup convenes 8 times; 100% of residential units (696) surveyed at Chapel Terrace housing; Response Teams meet 10 times to establish case management system; Response Teams contact 20% of families for follow-up and referral to appropriate resources; NHA adopts 5 policy changes to promote asthma-friendly environments; Healthy Homes Healthy Residents model is presented at Housing Authority Directors Association meeting to reach 8 Housing Authority Directors.
Partners: Newport Housing Authority, Newport County Healthy Communities Initiative, Asthma Regional Council of New England, Rhode Island Department of Health
Rhode Island Legal Services (Providence, RI)
The Providence Environmental Justice Forum
Rhode Island Legal Services is the sole provider of legal services to low-income Rhode Islander residents in civil matters and has provided service and assistance on environmental justice issues for local residents since 1999. “The Providence Environmental Justice Forum” will expand community collaboration and build community capacity to understand and address local environmental issues. The project will provide multilingual (English and Spanish) information, outreach, training and educational materials to city residents about environmental justice issues of concern to the community. The information will also including applicable laws and policies such as Brownfields, toxics, asthma, lead poisoning, healthy schools, healthy homes, and other community-identified concerns. The project will build a base of resident activists in the first-of-its kind workgroup that will meet monthly to identify issues of concern, plan educational forums for Providence residents, and result in a large conference that will formally launch the Providence Environmental Justice Forum. The forum will serve as a gathering place to join all interested residents together to work in partnership for improved environmental and public health.
Measurable Results: Publication of two to five informational brochures written (English and Spanish) on Providence environmental and public health issues; 500 copies of each brochure distributed to community agencies (up to 2,500 brochures); regular meetings of the Providence environmental justice workgroup with a minimum of 10-15 residents; three educational forums for at least 150 community members on environmental issues; public conference on environmental justice issues in Providence.
Partners: Hartford Park Residents Association, Concerned Residents of Reservoir Triangle and South Providence, Brown University’s Superfund Basic Research and Training Program (Community Outreach Core)
Hartford Park Residents Association (Providence, RI)
Hartford Park Asthma Education Project
The Hartford Park Residents Association serves the residents living in the Providence Housing Authority’s Hartford Park development in Providence, RI. The “Hartford Park Asthma Education Project” seeks to increase resident awareness of asthma and asthma triggers in their homes and the neighborhood. The project will provide residents with a greater understanding of ways to reduce asthma triggers and improve the quality of life for residents and families with asthma by improving the quality of the indoor environment. The project will engage two residents to serve as full-time community contacts to distribute educational brochures, identify households with asthma sufferers, develop an asthma support group, and identify existing housing apartment conditions and household practices which may contribute to indoor environmental problems. The information gathered will serve as a foundation to identify common problems and develop asthma management plans for residents. Education and training for residents will include information on asthma triggers and management techniques to reduce exposure to risks and indoor toxics.
Measurable Results: Two multi-lingual brochures provided to Hartford Park’s 548 residents; formation of support group to educate residents and families with asthma sufferers; assessment of public housing conditions in Hartford Park; distribution “Clean Bags” to group members with asthma-friendly cleaning supplies; identifying action plans for at least 25 households to decrease asthma triggers and asthma attacks.
Partners: Providence Housing Authority
Childhood Lead Action Project (Providence, RI)
Tenant Empowerment Project
The Childhood Lead Action Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating childhood lead poisoning in Rhode Island through education, parent support and advocacy. The “Tenant Empowerment Project” will develop a grassroots outreach and education initiative to inform low-income tenants in Providence and Woonsocket, RI about their rights under Rhode Island’s recently enacted Lead Hazard Mitigation Act (LHMA). The will engage tenants directly through churches, daycare centers, and English as a Second Language programs, job training programs, and health centers and provide education about existing risks from lead and opportunities to reduce the risk of childhood lead poisoning by improving housing conditions without fear of eviction.
Measurable Results: Curriculum, tenant fact sheet, and slideshow developed in Spanish and English on lead poisoning and LHMA; 20 community meetings in Spanish and English will educate 500 low-income tenants about new rights under LHMA and risks of lead exposure; over 1,000 bilingual tenant fact sheets and information packets distributed to participants.
Partners: Rhode Island Housing Resources Commission, Rhode Island Legal Services, Connecting for Children and Families
Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity (Burlington, VT)
Residents Working for Safe and Healthy Mobile Home Parks
The Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity is the lead advocacy organization working with Vermont mobile home park residents to improve habitability and environmental health conditions for the past fifteen years. The “Residents Working for a Safe and Healthy Mobile Home Parks” project will help identify indoor and outdoor environment and public health risks facing residents and engage the local population on how to identify, understand and prevent environmental health risks in their parks. Issues to be addressed include: septic system failures, substandard drinking water quality supply, and soil contamination. The project will also provide the “Dos and Don’ts” of individual environmental stewardship through a new video and booklet for education. In addition, the town health officers in each of the ninety-three Vermont towns in which one or more mobile park home is located will be trained using these materials to raise awareness, knowledge and the skill level for those responsible for enforcing Vermont’s health code in mobile home parks.
Measurable Results: This project will directly benefit at least 2,000 households; distribute 93 video and manuals to town health officers, 12 regional Department of Health Offices, 6 regional offices of the Department of the Environmental Conservation, 300 resident activists; canvass 20 parks experiencing habitability problems to improve environmental conditions.
Partners: Chittenden Community Television, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, Vermont Department of Health, Vermont Department of Housing and Community Affairs
Vermont Department of Housing & Community Affairs (Montpelier, VT)
Improving Wastewater Treatment Options for Vermont’s Un-sewered Villages
The Vermont Department of Housing & Community Affairs (DCHA) has a 15 year history of leading efforts to advance wastewater treatment infrastructure, support smart growth development, and improve water quality in Vermont. The “Improving Wastewater Treatment Options for Vermont’s Un-sewered Villages” project will educate, train and engage local decision-makers on the need to address wastewater treatment in Vermont villages, and to identify cost-effective solutions through Smart Growth. The project will bring together a diverse set of stakeholders to create outreach materials defining the scope of the problem, options for solutions (including a comparative community health case study) and coordinated training efforts for municipalities including a state-wide conference.
Measurable Results: State-wide conference for 500 people on alternative systems and smart growth; training and education materials for decision-makers at 100 municipalities; create and distribute final report for 250 municipalities.
Partners: Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, University of Vermont Center for Rural Studies, Vermont Planners Association, Vermont Association of Planning & Development Agencies
Vermont Department of Health (Montpelier, VT)
Envision Program: Environmental Health in Vermont Schools
The Vermont Department of Health promotes environmental health in Vermont schools through implementing Tools for Schools and other effective tools to improve indoor environmental quality. The “Envision Program: Environmental Health in Vermont Schools” project will provide education and mentoring to indoor air quality control teams including school staff members, develop environmental management plans and audits for schools to help reduce asthma triggers, and award grants to schools to help with the implementation costs of these environmental health measures. Public schools which meet Envision’s environmental health standards are awarded the Environmental Health Certificate of Achievement. In addition to these ongoing activities, this project will also begin to test a number of schools for radon and will launch a school database initiative using Healthy SEAT software to measure statewide progress in improving school environmental health.
Measurable Results: Educate and mentor 10 indoor air quality school teams in Tools for Schools; individual environmental management plans and cleaning audits to reduce asthma triggers for 10 schools; five schools awarded grants to help with implementation of Environmental Health policy and plans; three schools awarded Environmental Health Certificates of Achievement; 10 schools entered in Healthy Seat Database; five schools tested for radon and provided with outreach brochures; measurable replacement of cleaning products with least toxic alternatives; measurable reduction in use of asthma inhalers and absenteeism.
Partners: Vermont Department of Education, Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services, Association of Vermont Recyclers, American Lung Association of Vermont, INFORM Strategies for a Better Environment, Vermont Child Health Improvement Program