Contra Costa Organizations Awarded $400,000 by EPA for Environmental Justice Projects under the American Rescue Plan
SAN FRANCISCO (Oct. 6, 2021) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $400,000 in grants to Contra Costa County Health Services and the City of San Pablo to address environmental issues, specifically asthma, in overburdened Contra Costa County communities. The funds come from the American Rescue Plan and are being awarded under a national EPA program focusing on the unequal impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has had on communities of color, low-income communities, and other vulnerable populations.
“Allocating resources towards our most vulnerable communities continues to be a priority for EPA,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Tribal, Intergovernmental and Policy Acting Director Bridget Coyle. “These funds will increase access to important information that allows families to make informed decisions about their homes, their environments and their health.”
The City of San Pablo, located in Contra Costa County, is receiving $200,000 to partner with Earth Team in launching a local outreach and education campaign. Earth Team is an environmental education non-profit that will use its successful public high school internship program to train and mobilize three teams of student interns to act as science ambassadors. These teams will then deploy in their networks and neighborhoods, creating accessible content and bilingual messaging related to COVID-19. This effort aims to empower underserved communities that face environmental justice concerns to more effectively obtain and act on information about the impacts of COVID-19 on their lives and in their homes.
“Earth Team has been partnering with the City of San Pablo for several years in successful environmental education and outreach programs. This is a great opportunity to educate our high school youth in our common civic obligation to work together to dispel disinformation, increase vaccination rates and end this pandemic," said Earth Team's Executive Director Manuel Alonso-Martinez.
EPA is also announcing that Contra Costa County Health Services will receive $200,000 to expand on two current initiatives, led by LifeLong Medical Care and La Clínica de la Raza, focused on asthma and environmental pollution awareness. This project will empower community members by building upon and increasing collaboration between the Contra Costa Asthma Home Visiting program, which provides asthma support for Medicaid patients, and a promotora/health promoter program, which provides training on air quality and air pollution mitigation through a “trusted peer” network.
EPA provides resources and information for physicians and healthcare plan administrators to create home-based interventions with an environmental focus for children with asthma. These home visiting programs are proven to reduce exposure to multiple indoor asthma triggers.
“We are excited to leverage our existing health promoters program with Contra Costa County Health Services,” said Deputy Director of LifeLong Medical Care Lucinda Bazile. “This will allow more families to become educated about indoor triggers that impact their asthma and overall health.”
“La Clínica Community Health Education Department is very excited to pilot this collaboration effort with Lifelong Medical Care and Contra Costa Health Services to build awareness, community engagement and advocacy in East and West county,” said Community Health Education Manager of La Clínica de la Raza Maria Reyes.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was signed into law on March 11, 2021. It provides funds to address health outcome disparities from pollution and the COVID–19 pandemic. To learn more about the ARP, visit: https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/1319/text
To learn more about indoor air quality, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq