Biden-Harris Administration, EPA announce $1.8 million to South Los Angeles community organization for wildfire smoke preparedness
SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected the Esperanza Community Housing Corporation in Los Angeles to receive a $1,883,040 grant to enhance wildfire smoke preparedness and protection in local communities. The grant will help protect the people of South Los Angeles from wildfire smoke by strengthening preparedness infrastructure in the Mercado La Paloma building and using the site as the launch pad for a grassroots education and outreach campaign.
“Providing the public with tools to protect themselves against the dangers of wildfire smoke is essential for communities in South Los Angeles, especially as climate change accelerates and intensifies wildfires,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “This grant to the Esperanza Community Housing Corporation will fund a project to improve the capability of local communities to reduce indoor air pollutants during a wildfire smoke event.”
“Esperanza Community Housing is excited to partner with the EPA through the new Wildfire Smoke Preparedness Grant Program. Support for our Healthy Breathing Program work with our collaborative partners is critical to ensuring health equity in frontline communities of color who often have limited access to information, tools, and resources to prepare for the growing environmental hazards caused by air pollution and increased wildfires,” said Nancy Halpern Ibrahim, Executive Director of Esperanza Community Housing Corporation.
Wildfire smoke is a significant public health problem. Smoke plumes can have impacts over a large portion of the U.S. population, with health impacts ranging from eye and throat irritation to asthma attacks, heart problems, emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and even premature death. Local officials often advise people to stay indoors during a smoke event. Some of the smoke from outdoors, however, can enter homes and buildings and make it unhealthy to breathe indoor air, too. Buildings are varied and do not all provide the same level of protection against wildfire smoke.
The Wildfire Smoke Preparedness in Community Buildings grant program is a new federal program to enhance community wildfire smoke preparedness by providing grants to states, federally recognized Tribes, public preschools, local educational agencies, and non-profit organizations. Projects are designed to assess, prevent, control, or abate wildfire smoke hazards in community buildings that serve the public, and that serve disadvantaged communities or vulnerable populations. EPA anticipates awarding nine grants across the country, ranging from approximately $350,000 to $2 million – totaling over $10 million.
These grants are provided under Section 103(b)(3) of the Clean Air Act as supplemented by authority provided in the 2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act and the 2023 Consolidated Appropriations Act to fund abatement activities.
Learn more about the Wildfire Smoke Preparedness in Community Buildings grant program.
Learn more about wildfires and indoor air quality.