Resources for Creating Healthy, Sustainable, and Equitable Communities
Creating healthy, sustainable, and equitable communities is a priority of the federal government. Environmental justice plays a key role in an integrated effort that simultaneously addresses housing, environment, transportation and health issues.
Learn more about essential information about federal resources, technical assistance and funding opportunities that address this integrated approach to environmental justice.
- Building Capacity
The Environmental Justice Funding map highlights EPA’s environmental justice grant support to communities as they develop and implement solutions that significantly address local environmental and/or public health concerns.
EJSCREEN - EJSCREEN is the environmental justice screening tool used by EPA to provide a nationally consistent dataset and methodology for calculating "EJ indexes," which highlight places that may be candidates for further review. The tool offers a variety of powerful data and mapping capabilities that enable users to access environmental and demographic information, at high geographic resolution, across the entire country.
The Cleanups in My Community enables you to map and list hazardous waste cleanup locations and grant areas, and drill down to details about those cleanups and grants and other related information.
Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) - Use EPA's ECHO website to search for facilities in your community to assess their compliance with environmental regulations. You can also investigate pollution sources, examine and create enforcement-related maps, or explore your state's performance.
Community-Focused Exposure and Risk Screening Tool (C-FERST) - C-FERST builds upon other community-focused tools and provides state-of-the-science approaches for characterizing community exposures to environmental contaminants that lead to cumulative risks. These tools include information, strategies, human exposure models, databases, sampling/analytical methods, GIS maps, and web applications.
My Environment - The MyEnvironment search application is designed to provide a cross-section of environmental information based on the user's location.
AirData - AirData gives you access to air quality data collected at outdoor monitors across the United States. This tool will help you better understand air quality in your community. Other sources of air data also are available.
National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA) - NATA is EPA's ongoing comprehensive evaluation of air toxics in the U.S. EPA developed the NATA as a state-of-the-science screening tool for State/Local/Tribal Agencies to prioritize pollutants, emission sources and locations of interest for further study in order to gain a better understanding of risks.
Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program - provides communities with information about toxic chemical releases and waste management activities and to inform industry, government, non-government and the public on chemical releases. You can search by zip code for a report of TRI chemical releases in your neighborhood.
Community Commons Exit is an interactive mapping, networking, and learning utility for the broad-based healthy, sustainable, and livable communities’ movement. Registered users have free access to hundreds of place-based community initiatives, peer-learning forums, and a variety of in tool apps.
HUD's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grants map, hosted by USDA, allows you to see where HUD, USDA, and the Department of Commerce's recovery grants are being targeted.
The Transportation Infrastructure Funding Map plots Federal marine transportation system (MTS) infrastructure and intermodal connectors for the past five years. It shows both physical and informational infrastructure and incorporates investments in vessels, ports, equipment, vehicles, roads, rail, bridges, and intermodal connectors involved with the MTS.
Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Tools and Resources shows you the local foods landscape in your community and around the country. Data includes USDA and other federally supported local food projects, farmers markets, food hubs, meat processors and more.
Data.gov increases the ability of the public to easily find, download, and use datasets that are generated and held by the Federal Government. Data.gov provides descriptions of the Federal datasets (metadata), information about how to access the datasets, and tools that leverage government datasets. The data catalogs will continue to grow as datasets are added.
HHS and HRSA's basic county-specific Area Resource File (ARF) is the nucleus of the overall ARF System. It is a database containing more than 6,000 variables for each of the nation's counties. ARF contains information on health facilities, health professions, measures of resource scarcity, health status, economic activity, health training programs, and socioeconomic and environmental characteristics. In addition, the basic file contains geographic codes and descriptors which enable it to be linked to many other files and to aggregate counties into various geographic groupings.
CDC's National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network (Tracking Network) is a system of integrated health, exposure, and hazard information and data from a variety of national, state, and city sources. On the Tracking Network, you can view maps, tables, and charts with data about: chemicals and other substances found in the environment; some chronic diseases and conditions; and, the area where you live.
CDC's WISQARS™ (Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System) is an interactive, online database that provides fatal and nonfatal injury, violent death, and cost of injury data from a variety of trusted sources. Researchers, the media, public health professionals, and the public can use WISQARS™ data to learn more about the public health and economic burden associated with unintentional and violence-related injury in the United States. Users can search, sort, and view the injury data and create reports, charts, and maps based intent of injury, mechanism (cause), body region, nature (type) of injury, geographic location where the injury occurred, and sex, race/ethnicity, and age of the injured person.
HUD's Community Planning and Development Maps Identify your community's needs through mapping current grant activities, local housing market and economic data, Census data, and other data sources, and see homeless grant planning data.
HUD's Empowerment Zone(EZ) & Renewal Communities (RCs)Locator has been recently modified to improve the experience for businesses and residents of EZ/RC communities. The Address Locator allows you to determine if an address is located within an Empowerment Zone or Renewal Community. This online tool can help verify if a particular location is eligible for the tax incentives or other benefits offered in EZ/RC areas. If your business in an Empowerment Zone, you may qualify for tax credits and other incentives.
HUD's Single Family Home Locator provides maps of Real-Estate Owned (REO) properties for sale, Revitalization Areas (RA), Asset Control Areas (ACA), and Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) target areas.
HUD's Tribal Directory Assessment Tool (TDAT) identifies tribes and provide appropriate tribal contact information to assist with initiating Section 106 consultation.
HUD's Qualified Census Tract Locator (QCT) allows users to identify whether a specific address is located in a Qualified Census Tract (QCT) for purposes of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program. The Locator also provides information explaining why the tract was or was not designated a QCT.
DOT's EJ Links contains lists of data tools and resources can improve the ability of transportation agencies to identify and address the effects of their programs, policies and activities on low-income and minority populations. This list includes select web sites offered for your convenience in accessing related information. Linking to a web site does not constitute an endorsement by U.S. DOT, or any of its employees, of the sponsors of the site or the products presented on the site.
DOT's Transit Oriented Database is a project of the Center for Transit-Oriented Development. Intended as a tool for planners, developers, government officials, and academics, the Database provides economic and demographic information for every existing and proposed fixed guideway transit station in the U.S.
The Partnership for Sustainable Communities' Sustainable Communities HotReport is designed to give community leaders and residents a quick and easy way to determine how well your community is performing on a variety of sustainability indicators.
Grant Specific Data Tools
HUD's Choice Neighborhoods Mapping Tool allows applicants for the Choice Neighborhoods program to identify a customized area where they would target Choice Neighborhoods funds and to electronically submit that area to HUD. The tool also generates a PDF report for the custom geography with data relevant for program design.
EPA began awarding clean diesel grants in 2008 under the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA), a grant program authorized by Congress as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The DERA program improves public health in communities by reducing diesel emissions from older engines which are replaced and then scrapped.
EPA’s Air Sensor Toolbox for Citizen Scientists, Researchers and Developers provides information for citizen scientists and others on how to select and use low-cost, portable air sensor technology and understand results from monitoring activities. The information can help the public learn more about air quality in their communities.
The 2017 Brownfields Federal Program Guide illustrates how the Brownfields Program does more than simply address environmental contamination—it recognizes that a community’s quality of life goes hand-in-hand with economic development and sustainability, and encourages communities to develop and implement their own vision for community revitalization.
The EPA Brownfields Area-Wide Planning Program provides funding to recipients to conduct research, technical assistance and training that will result in an area-wide plan and implementation strategy for key brownfield sites, which will help inform the assessment, cleanup and reuse of brownfields properties and promote area-wide revitalization. Funding is directed to specific areas, such as a neighborhood, downtown district, local commercial corridor, or city block, affected by a single large or multiple brownfield sites.
EPA Brownfields Cleanup Grants provide funding for a grant recipient to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites. An eligible entity may apply for up to $200,000 per site. Due to budget limitations, no entity can apply for funding cleanup activities at more than three sites. These funds may be used to address sites contaminated by petroleum and hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants (including hazardous substances co-mingled with petroleum). Cleanup grants require a 20 percent cost share, which may be in the form of a contribution of money, labor, material, or services, and must be for eligible and allowable costs (the match must equal 20 percent of the amount of funding provided by EPA). A cleanup grant applicant may request a waiver of the 20 percent cost share requirement based on hardship. An applicant must own the site for which it is requesting funding at time of application. The performance period for these grants is three years.
EPA uses the Brownfields to Healthfields (B2H) approach to help local organizations access state and federal resources to transform brownfields and blighted properties into community spaces that improve the environment, public health and economic potential of vulnerable communities.
- Community Tools
EPA’s Collaborative Problem-Solving (CPS) Model details an approach to address environmental and/or public health issues in local communities for environmental justice stakeholders, including community-based organizations, federal, state, tribal and local governments, industry, non-governmental organizations, and academia.
Use the Report Environmental Violations (ECHO) page to report what appears to you as a possible violation of environmental laws and regulations. Information you submit will be forwarded to EPA.
EJSCREEN: Environmental Justice Screening and Mapping Tool is an environmental justice mapping and screening tool that provides EPA with a nationally consistent dataset and approach for combining environmental and demographic indicators.
The Community-Focused Exposure and Risk Screening Tool (C-FERST) links to and builds upon other community-focused guidance and tools to help identify human exposures and potential risks for a community and help identify issues for further assessment and actions that are available to improve public health.
EnviroAtlas allows analysis of "what if?" scenarios and provides national to local scale data and analysis of the distribution of ecosystem services, benefits, stressors and drivers of change.
National Institute of Health’s Community Action Tools contains guides and toolkitsthat will help you to take action to minimize exposure.
- Emergency Preparedness
Natural Disasters and Weather Emergencies: Links and suggestions for planning ahead to help reduce cleanup costs and risks of contamination (from chemicals, raw sewage, emergency response materials) caused by large-scale or violent events such as floods, hurricanes, or other natural events.
Hurricane activities for water and wastewater facilities: Information that can help plants plan for and recover from emergencies and storms (applies to more than just hurricanes).
Mold: Investigating and cleanup of mold after a flood, for commercial buildings and schools, and health information.
Droughts and water conservation: Ideas and links for schools, communities, and utilities can use water more efficiently and reduce load on local water supplies.
De-icing and winter storms: Information about proper storage, use, and reducing environmental impacts for municipalities and airports.
Community-Based Water Resiliency: Communities can plan ahead to reduce risks to water infrastructure from natural disasters or security threats. The CBWR Electronic Tool can be downloaded for free and gives community groups a wide variety of tools to help with planning and assessing local water resiliency efforts.Top of Page
- Federal Government Resources
The Federal Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice (EJ IWG) created a Framework for Collaboration, which seeks to advance greater federal agency collaboration to improve the quality of life and to expand economic opportunity in overburdened and under-resourced communities.
EJ IWG Promising Practices for EJ Methodologies in NEPA Reviews is a compilation of methodologies gleaned from current agency practices. These practices were identified by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Committee concerning the interface of environmental justice considerations through NEPA processes.
EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice and the EJ IWG NEPA Committee created the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) EJ Resource Compendium, which gathers publically available information from federal agencies on the intersection of environmental justice and NEPA into one place.
Recordings of the EJ IWG’s Access & Awareness Webinar Series increase community awareness of federal agency environmental justice strategies and holistic community-based solutions to address environmental justice issues. This series helps the public gain a deeper understanding of how federal agencies are collaborating and what resources are available to anyone interested in improving the health, quality-of-life, and economic opportunities in overburdened communities.
EPA connects with underserved communities through the 15-agency Urban Waters Federal Partnership (UWFP), which has active projects in 19 designated locations. These locations demonstrate a sustainable model that is transferable to any location with an urban water. The Building and Sustaining Successful Urban Waters Partnerships Handbook is available in English and Spanish.
- Goods Movement
The EJ IWG’s Impacts from Commercial Transportation Committee created the EJ IWG Goods Movement Federal Resource Compendium, which contains federal memorandums, policies, executive orders, guidance, and statutes on goods movement-related programs and resources. The compendium identifies the tools that can be used to mitigate externalities related to goods movement.
EPA’s Near-Port Community Capacity Building Project: Shaping Environmental Justice and Goods Movement Near Ports is a set of draft tools and resource materials to address key challenges noted by stakeholders who are directly involved with, and impacted by, port-related goods movement activities.
Draft Ports Primer for Communities: An Overview of Ports Planning and Operations to Support Community Participation is an interactive tool and reference document that characterizes the port industry sector, including environmental and community health impacts associated with port activities.
Draft Community Action Roadmap: Empowering Near-Port Communities is an implementation companion for the Ports Primer for Communities that provides a step-by-step process for building capacity and preparing community stakeholders.
Draft Environmental Justice (EJ) Primer for Ports: The Good Neighbor Guide to Building Partnerships and Social Equity with Communities is designed to inform the port industry sector of the perspectives, priorities, and challenges often unique to communities with EJ concerns. In addition to orienting the port sector about EJ considerations, this resource is structured to provide step-by-step processes to improve the effectiveness of port and community engagement in addressing concerns of impacted residential communities.
Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Cooperative Agreements provide funding for eligible applicants for projects that address local environmental and public health issues within an affected community. The CPS Program assists recipients in building collaborative partnerships to help them understand and address environmental and public health concerns in their communities. The awards are made every two years, up to $120,000 each, for a total of 10 awards.
Environmental Justice Small Grants support and empower communities working on solutions to local environmental and public health issues. The program is designed to help communities understand and address exposure to multiple environmental harms and risks. Environmental Justice Small Grants fund projects up to $30,000, every two years, depending on the availability of funds in a given year, for a total of approximately 40 awards.
Here is information about EPA grants, in general.
Grants.gov is a single access point for over 900 grant programs offered by the 26 Federal grant-making agencies. You can use ‘Search Grants’ using keywords or more specific criteria. Visit their Grant Writing Basics Blog Series to learn tips and advice for writing federal grant applicants.
Beta.SAM.gov provides a full listing of all federal programs available to state, local and DC governments; federally-recognized tribal governments; US territories and possessions; and domestic public, quasi- public, and private profit and nonprofit organizations. You can ‘Search’ for federal resources using keywords or more specific criteria
This Housing and Urban Development (HUD) site provides general tips on writing a winning grant submission.
USDA’s Guide to Funding Resources provides general information on federal funding and grant writing resources.
- Job Training
Annual Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) Grants allow nonprofit and other organizations to recruit, train, and place predominantly low-income and minority, unemployed and under-employed people living in areas affected by solid and hazardous waste. Residents learn the skills needed to secure full-time, sustainable employment in the environmental field, including assessment and cleanup. These green jobs reduce environmental contamination and build more sustainable futures for communities.
- Lead/Toxic Substances
Through the Lead Hotline (1-800-424- LEAD), The National Lead Information Center (NLIC) provides the general public and professionals with information about lead, lead hazards, and their prevention. The NLIC operates under a contract with EPA, with funding from EPA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
For questions about lead in drinking water, contact the Safe Drinking Water Hotline (1-800-426-4791).
The Key Federal Programs to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures and Eliminate Associated Health Impacts catalogs federal efforts to understand, prevent, and reduce various sources of lead exposure among children.
Materials from Region 5’s Lead Workshop for Communities in 2017 share the range of tools, strategies, and resources available to help eliminate lead poisoning.
- Local Government Resources
Resources for Local Officials and Community Members on EPA’s website is a one-stop directory for local government officials and community members seeking to address today's complex environmental challenges at the local level.
Local Food, Local Places helps cities and towns across the country protect the environment and human health by engaging with local partners to reinvest in existing neighborhoods as they develop local food systems. Local Foods, Local Places supports locally led, community-driven efforts to protect air and water quality, preserve open space and farmland, boost economic opportunities for local farmers and businesses, improve access to healthy local food, and promote childhood wellness.
The Framework for Creating a Smart Growth Economic Development Strategy: A Tool for Small Cities and Towns is a step-by-step guide to building a place-based economic development strategy. It is intended for small and mid-sized cities, particularly those that have limited population growth, areas of disinvestment, and/or a struggling economy.
Essential Smart Growth Fixes for Urban and Suburban Zoning Codes is a tool to help local governments apply targeted fixes to their zoning codes to address specific issues.
EPA offers a wide variety of tools and resources to help communities learn about and implement smart growth approaches.
Technical Assistance Grants (TAG) helps communities participate in Superfund cleanup decision-making. It provides funding to community groups to contract their own technical advisor to interpret and explain technical reports, site conditions, and EPA’s proposed cleanup proposals and decisions. An initial grant up to $50,000 is available to qualified community groups.
- Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency
EPA provides these energy resources to help state, local, and tribal governments use energy efficiency and renewable energy policies and programs to meet their environmental, energy, and economic priorities. While many of our resources were developed for state and local governments, tribes may also find them useful.
EPA developed a series of case studies and program profiles - Bringing the Benefits of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to Low-Income Communities: Case Studies and Program Profiles - to highlight effective efforts by state and local agencies, non-profits, and utilities to bring energy efficiency and renewable energy to low-income communities.
The Low-Income Energy Library: Federal Resources and Tools on the Department of Energy website seeks to help state and local partners and other stakeholders provide successful energy solutions for low income households. These resources were compiled through the coordination and partnership of the Interagency Collaborative on Energy Solutions for Low-Income Communities.
- Rural Communities
- State Government Resources
The Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) created the Green Report on State Approaches to Community Engagement and Equity Considerations in Permitting, summarizes discussions held in late 2015 and early 2016 among groups of states on two webinars ECOS held in conjunction with EPA.
Energy Star for Government: Provides local and state governments, as well as federal agencies, a proven energy management strategy and no-cost tools to save energy and money and demonstrate their environmental leadership.
State and Local Climate and Energy Program: This program provides technical assistance, peer exchange opportunities, analytical tools, and outreach support to state, local, and tribal governments. Using these resources, state and local governments can develop policies and programs that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lower energy costs, improve air quality and public health, and help achieve economic development goals.
EPA’s State Utility Regulation and Clean Energy site provides a number of best practices and policy option resources to state utility regulators who want to explore greater use of clean energy for its economic and environmental benefits.
EPA’s State and Local Toolkit: A Guide to Building Clean Diesel Programs provides a broad array of tools and resources for designing, funding, and evaluating programs that reduce diesel engine emissions.
EPA’s state and local transportation resources site provides useful information, tools, and links to resources that identify emission reduction strategies, national policies, regulations, incentive-based programs, funding sources, calculators, and other types of assistance to help states and local areas achieve their air quality and transportation objectives.
The SB 1000 Implementation Toolkit, prepared collaboratively by California Environmental Justice Alliance and PlaceWorks Inc., is a guidance document intended for local governments, planners, community-based organizations, and other stakeholders who will be working to develop an Environmental Justice Element or a set of environmental justice policies for their General Plans to meet the requirements of SB 1000.
EPA also administers the Tribal Public Water System Supervision (PWSS) Program Funds, which are distributed to EPA’s Regional tribal PWSS programs for direct implementation activities with an emphasis on compliance assistance activities. They are used for technical assistance, sanitary surveys, and operator training and certification.
EPA established the national Tribal Drinking Water Operator Certification Program to provide certification opportunities for personnel operating public drinking water systems in Indian country. This program offers certification at no cost to water system personnel. For information on how you can get certification through EPA’s program please contact your Regional Tribal Drinking Water Direct Implementation Coordinator.
Community water systems and non-profit, non-community water systems that serve a tribal population are eligible to have projects funded, in whole or in part, with funds from the Drinking Water Infrastructure Grants Tribal Set-Aside (DWIG-TSA) Program.
In the Tribal-Focused Environmental Risk and Sustainability Tool (T-FERST), users are able to follow step-by-step guidance for identifying priority issues, compiling data, ranking and addressing risks, and assessing impacts of actions taken. At each step, relevant information is provided.
You can visit recordings of webinars hosted by the Heath Resources and Services Administration on Grants Education and Technical Assistance Webinar Series for Tribes, Tribal Organizations, Indian Health, Tribal and Urban Indian Health Programs.
- Technical Assistance
The national Technical Assistance Services for Communities (TASC) program provides independent assistance through an EPA contract to help communities better understand the science, regulations and policies of environmental issues and EPA actions. Under the TASC contract, a contractor provides scientists, engineers and other professionals to review and explain information to communities. The services are determined on a project-specific basis and provided at no cost to communities. This assistance supports community efforts to get more involved and work productively with EPA to address environmental issues. TASC services can include information assistance and expertise, community education, information assistance needs evaluation and plan development, and assistance to help community members work together to participate effectively in environmental decision-making.
EPA's Smart Growth Technical Assistance Programs offer technical assistance to help communities learn about and implement smart growth approaches.
EPA co-sponsors the Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grants Program through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), which gives priority to projects that advance water quality goals in communities with environmental justice concerns. The Urban Waters Learning Network is the innovative sharing network for exchanging knowledge among Urban Waters practitioners.
- Learn how to apply for, manage and complete an EPA grant with these easy-to-follow steps through the EPA Grants 101 Tutorial.
- The EPA Grants Overview provides basic information for EPA grant applicants and recipients.
- EJ Small Grants Tutorial gives an overview on the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of people of all races and incomes with respect to the development of, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies and the grants program.
The Water Finance Tool Clearinghouse is a web‐based portal that provides communities with a searchable database with more than $10 billion in water funding sources and over 550 resources to support local water infrastructure projects.
The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program accelerates investment in our nation’s water infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental loans for regionally and nationally significant projects.