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Region 1: EPA New England

Fiscal Year 2001 Environmental Justice Small Grants Profiles of Seven (7) Awardees


Action for Boston Community Development
Amount Awarded - $15,000
Healthy Homes/Healthy Kids
178 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02111-1017
CONTACT: ROXANNE REDDINGTON-WILDE
(617) 357-6000

Organization:

Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) was founded in 1963 to fight poverty in Boston through community organizing to help people help themselves. ABCD now runs thirteen Neighborhood Service Centers or Area Planning Action Councils in the metropolitan area which provide a variety of services including fuel assistance, education and training programs, and Head Start. To complete this project ABCD has partnered with Health Care For All (HCFA), a non-profit community advocacy organization that actually started the Health Homes/Healthy Kids project of coalition building and outreach for health and housing rights.

Objectives:

The Healthy Homes/Healthy Kids (HH/HK) project is an innovative environmental justice outreach program that addresses both housing and health problems as inextricably linked issues. The HH/HK project specifically targets Boston's two largest non-English speaking immigrant groups, Haitians and Latinos, in three of Boston's lowest-income communities–Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan. Through the project ABCD and HCFA will coordinate educational outreach on housing and health concerns through radio and community television programs, and by partnering with other community-based organizations, like the Haitian Multi-Service Center and Vida Urbana/City Life, to distribute information. To further promote environmental justice education, ABCD and HCFA will also organize a community forum made up of key neighborhood community-based organizations, health agencies, environmental organizations, immigrant advocacy groups, and immigrant media outlets. Forum participants will be trained to take leadership in identifying contamination sources in their neighborhoods, knowing the current laws that protect communities and how to report violations, and working in coalition with local environmental justice and health access groups in addressing toxic waste and clean air.

 

Nuestra Comunidad Development Corp.
Amount Awarded - $15,000
Swiftly Auto Mall Environmental Education and Prototype Project
56 Warren Street, Suite 200
Roxbury, MA 02119
CONTACT: JOHN MAHONY
(617) 989-1212

Organization:

Nuestra Comunidad Development Corp. (Nuestra) is a non-profit community development organization which has served residents and businesses in Roxbury and the surrounding neighborhoods of Boston, MA, since 1981. Approximately 90 percent of the residents of these communities are minorities. Nuestra coordinates a variety of outreach activities in these communities including real estate development, economic development, home ownership services, and community organizing. Nuestra's past successes include producing 373 units of affordable housing, training 996 people in home-ownership, assisting 280 families in buying their first home, providing technical assistance and $3.9 million in loans to more than 1000 small businesses, giving 24 low-income residents business experience and entrepreneurial training, founding a property management company that oversees 275 residential units and 32,220 square feet of commercial space, employing approximately 25 youth each year for the past three years at Nuestra and other neighborhood jobs, establishing a tutoring program for children in grades K-5, and renovating an auto repair shop to create an environmentally appropriate start-up space for four auto-related businesses.

Objectives:

The goal of the Swiftly Auto Mall Environmental Education and Prototype Project is to demonstrate that the auto service industry can be both environmentally-friendly and economically viable. The project is modeled after a five-year initiative that took place between 1995 and 2000 through which a large auto repair facility was renovated and reconstructed so that it now operates four auto-related businesses that are environmentally friendlier. The proposed project specifically targets the Roxbury neighborhood where there are over 35 auto-related businesses within one mile of the renovated building site, and where levels of cancer, heart-related problems, and asthma are among the highest in the city. The purposes of the project are (1) to implement an environmental education program to teach best practices and pollution prevention to auto repair mechanics, and (2) to create an analysis of the effectiveness of the program to generate change in business practices and to determine the value of replicating the program. The project will allow auto mechanics in the Roxbury and surrounding areas to understand relevant environmental laws, how to comply with the laws, and how to go beyond compliance and be both environmentally-friendly and economically viable.

 

The Way Home
Amount Awarded - $15,000
Community Organizing for Environmentally Safe Housing
20 Merrimack Street, Suite B
Manchester, NH
CONTACT: MARY SLINEY
(603) 627-3491

Organization:

Housing problems in Manchester, New Hampshire became a focus of community concern in the late 1980s. In response, a group of community leaders and members of a center for low-income women and their children created a program to help low-income families compete for safe and affordable housing. The Way Home, Inc. was established in 1989 to continue the program, its mission being to help low-income households obtain and keep safe and affordable housing through direct housing assistance services, empowerment of low-income tenants, and advocacy for community involvement in low-income housing issues. In the past twelve years The Way Home has assisted more than 4500 low-income families in the Greater Manchester area with its housing and counseling services.

Objectives:

The purpose of The Way Home's Community Organizing for Environmentally Safe Housing project is to increase Manchester's stock of affordable, lead-safe housing. Manchester has a large concentration of pre-1950 multi-family dwellings that are contaminated with lead paint. Because Manchester is designated as a refugee resettlement area it has a diverse and growing minority population, which is reflected by the more than 60 languages spoken in its schools. The project goals are to (1) use a peer education process to reduce environmental hazards to children's health in low-income housing, (2) influence landlords to reduce exposure to hazards in their older housing units and make safe housing available to needy families, (3) provide temporary lead-safe housing for families with lead burdened or at-risk children, (4) provide specialized cleaning to reduce lead dust and asthma triggers in the homes of low-income families with at-risk children, and (5) offer property owners low-cost methods to reduce lead hazards as primary prevention of lead poisoning. Through the project The Way Home specifically plans to map all of the housing units in Manchester that are in need of lead-safe renovations. The Way Home will then identify the owners of these properties, and invite them along with minority and low-income community leaders, city officials, bankers, realtors and other stakeholders to work in partnership to address the shortage of lead-safe housing. Finally, the project will motivate between 15 and 20 property owners to participate in strategy sessions to reduce lead in their low-cost housing.

 

The Food Project
Amount Awarded - $15,000
Urban Agriculture and Capacity Building
10 Lewis Street
P.O. Box 705
Lincoln, MA 01773
CONTACT: PATRICIA GRAY
(781) 259-8621 x15

Organization:

The Food Project began in 1991 as a pilot project of the Massachusetts Audubon Society, and has since become an independent nonprofit organization that reinvents the way youth relate to food, land, community, and one another. Its mission is to create a thoughtful and productive community of youth and adults from diverse backgrounds who work together to build a sustainable food system. The community produces healthy food for residents of the city and suburbs, provides youth leadership opportunities, and inspires and supports others to create a change in their own communities. Since The Food Project began, about 430 youth have participated in the program and their successes include producing and distributing more than 500,000 pounds of organic produce to low-income and hungry people, remediating approximately two acres of urban land and 21 acres of suburban land, and volunteering 14,840 hours of service in soup kitchens.

Objectives:

In 2001 The Food Project's youth, staff, and community members will work through their urban agriculture program and capacity-building initiatives to: (1) Educate peer organizations and participants at local and regional conferences about the connections between healthy food, healthy land, and healthy communities; (2) Launch the second year of a public media campaign that focuses on the value of a sustainable local food system; (3) Develop further business partnerships to increase awareness of, and support for, safe local food systems; (4) Utilize an organic agriculture lot as a tool for neighborhood environmental education about sustainable agriculture; (5) Increase organic food production on its lot by 30 percent; and (6) Coordinate a youth-led National Action day to link 20 like-minded organizations in the U.S. to carry out a set of simultaneous community service activities organized by youth

 

Chelsea Human Services Collaborative
Amount Awarded - $15,000
Chelsea Green Space and Recreation Committee
300 Broadway
Chelsea, MA 02150
CONTACT: ROSEANN BONGIOVANNI
(617) 889-6080

Organization:

The Chelsea Human Services Collaborative created the Chelsea Green Space and Recreation Committee (Green Space) in 1994 in response to the city's decision to build two of three new schools on major parklands. Initially, the committee's mission was to encourage the city to keep its commitment to replace and improve the open park space taken for the new schools, and to continue to support the development of additional open space resources. In 1996 Green Space added fighting environmental injustices into its mission, and has since been active in reclaiming Chelsea's waterfront and addressing related environmental health concerns. Green Space's past accomplishment's include coordinating a two-year campaign to improve management practices at the Eastern Minerals Rock Salt Pile and bring it into compliance with environmental laws, involving more than 1500 residents and 20 partner organizations in restoring a polluted and abandoned salt marsh and the surrounding open space for recreational use, successfully motivating the city to renovate three major parks, sponsoring boat tours and walking tours of two parks to raise consciousness about the problems and potential for the areas, organizing to prevent further development of asphalt tanks in Chelsea, holding two annual inter-city environmental fairs, improving the quality of Chelsea's watershed with funding from the USDA, helping create a park along Chelsea Creek, and creating a youth crew to work on environmental problems in Chelsea.

Objectives:

The Green Space project will address the severe truck traffic problem that is a major contributor to the soaring asthma and respiratory illnesses in Chelsea. State data indicate that Chelsea residents have more than double the hospital discharges than all communities in Massachusetts. Previous studies conducted by Green Space in 1997 and 1999 indicate that truck traffic in Chelsea is severe, with more than 2500 trucks passing through the waterfront neighborhood in a 12-hour period. Diesel emissions from many of these trucks can be very dangerous to human health because they contain significant quantities of fine particulate matter and volatile air toxins, and many studies have documented diesel exhaust as a probable human carcinogen. The Green Space project plans to involve 750 people in its traffic reduction campaign by organizing its members, staff, volunteers and youth crew, and by recruiting new members. Green Space will then accomplish the following: (1) compile quantifiable data on truck traffic in Chelsea by doing research and conducting traffic counts and surveys, (2) determine air quality and the quantity of diesel exhaust through monitoring, (3) educate community members about the health hazards of diesel exhaust through a series of workshops, (4) highlight the project research at a community forum, (5) initiate roundtable discussions to develop a plan to reduce truck traffic, and (6) finally seek support from the City Council and City Manager for the plan.

 

Maine Lead Action Project
Amount Awarded - $15,000
Healthy Children, Healthy Communities
130 Highland Street
Portland, ME 04103
CONTACT: SUSAN THORNFELD
(207) 775-5935

Organization:

The Maine Lead Action Project (MLAP) was founded in 1999 by a parent whose child was poisoned by lead, and its mission is to eliminate childhood lead poisoning by providing education, support, assistance, and encouragement to families and communities in Maine. The MLAP shares the state of Maine's goal of eradicating childhood lead poisoning by 2010. The MLAP is sponsored by Friends International, Inc., and partners with Maine Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, United Parents Against Lead, Alliance to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, and the City of Portland's Lead Poisoning Prevention Program and Housing Division. MLAP has also collaborated with Fleet Bank of Maine to offer residents the Maine Lead Hazard Loan Program, which specifically reaches homeowners who do not qualify for state and federal resources to address the removal and reduction of lead hazards in their homes. The MLAP currently operates a lead directory, which is a comprehensive compilation of lead related resources and services available to Maine residents and communities.

Objectives:

According to the Maine Medical Assessment Foundation one in nine Maine children has blood-lead levels high enough to be considered lead poisoning, and approximately 1000 Maine children are lead-poisoned each year with an average blood lead level of 5.49 ug/dl (compared to the national average of 2.7 ug/dl). The MLAP will partner with three existing Healthy Communities/ Communities for Children coalitions in Houlton, Bath, and Rumford communities to develop prevention and education intervention campaigns targeting low-income, high-risk populations. Specifically the project would establish a primary prevention model with the following goals: (1) Increase awareness of childhood lead poisoning prevention among all target communities, with a special focus on outreach to low-income families; (2) Promote lead screening of children, which will serve to educate families about lead poisoning and provide an interim baseline of information about the prevalence of the problem; and (3) Strengthen organization, agency, and business partnerships including those with daycare providers, healthcare providers, social services agencies, landlords, realtors, and others in order to facilitate information exchange that will promote a nurturing community with safe housing where our children can live, grow, and thrive. MLAP will measure the success of the project by determining if there is a marked increase in the number of lead screenings in the three project communities.

Keep Providence Beautiful/ Groundwork Providence
Amount Awarded - $10,000
Environmental Education Outreach Program
69 Washington Street
Providence, RI 02903
CONTACT: LAURA ARCHAMBAULT
(401) 351-6440

Organization:

Started in 1982 as Keep Providence Beautiful, Groundwork Providence is a community organization working to improve Providence's urban environment in partnership with neighborhood residents, community groups, local businesses, foundations, and government. Its mission is to bring about sustained regeneration, improvement, and management of the physical environment by developing community-based partnerships which empower people, businesses and organizations to promote environmental, economic, and social well-being. Groundwork Providence has partnered with a variety of other organizations in the community including People Assisting Through Community Effort, the resident associations for Bellevue Avenue, Waverly Street and Hanover Street, and the Allen Ministries Enriching Neighborhoods. Together these groups focus on urban environmental and neighborhood improvements which act as a catalyst for increased community participation among residents.

Objectives:

The Environmental Education Outreach Project was designed to help residents and community groups in Providence's racially diverse West End neighborhood to (1) identify and assess environmental risks and pollution sources in the community; (2) devise strategies for environmental improvements; and (3) provide education, information, and training on crucial environmental and public health issues, such as lead contamination, solid waste disposal, water pollution reduction, and recycling, among others. Specifically the project plans to increase West End residents' understanding of community environmental and public health problems and solutions. In order to reach the largest audience possible the project will first establish an Executive Committee of organization and resident stakeholders, and then use grassroots outreach to increase membership in partner neighborhood associations by 20 percent. Twelve environmental education workshops will later be held on topics that are most important to the West End community, printed informational brochures on the same 12 workshop topics will be published in English, Spanish, and Cambodian, two neighborhood cleanups will be organized, and a set of standards for community development projects will be developed to ensure that they are completed in an environmentally sensitive fashion.

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