News Releases from Region 05
EPA awards $30,000 to Legal Council for Health Justice for lead awareness app blueprint
Award part of $1.5 million in competitive grants nationwide
For Immediate Release No. 19-OPA103
CHICAGO (Nov. 6, 2019) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that Chicago, Illinois-based Legal Council for Health Justice will receive a $30,000 grant to develop a blueprint for the “kNOw LEAD” app, which provides accessible information on lead poisoning prevention leading to improved low blood lead testing rates in children. The proposed app will target lower income populations of Cicero, Arlington Heights, Schaumburg, Palatine and Orland Park. In total, EPA is awarding $1.5 million in competitive grants to 50 organizations working to address environmental justice issues in their communities.
Fifty percent of the grantees selected will support communities with census tracts designated as federal Opportunity Zones – an economically-distressed community where new investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment.
“Rural and disadvantaged communities are often disproportionately affected by environmental health risks, and at EPA we are working to reverse this trend,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “These grants support the President’s initiatives to invest in and revitalize distressed communities. By supporting often overlooked, local organizations that understand the unique challenges that their communities face, we’re better able to put in place long-term solutions to improve the environment and health of underserved areas of the country.”
“EPA’s grant to Legal Council for Health Justice underscores our commitment to ensuring that everyone – regardless of where they live, learn and work, deserves equal protection from environmental risks and potential health hazards,” said EPA Regional Administrator Cathy Stepp.
“There is a critical need to put easily accessible and current information on lead poisoning prevention in the hands of providers and families to increase persistently low testing rates and promote access to life-changing services for children with lead exposure,” said Amy Zimmerman, Director Children and Families Partnerships, Legal Council for Health Justice. “Co-creating the blueprint for a Suburban Cook ‘kNOw LEAD’ mobile-enabled app with community members, medical and public health providers through the EPA Environmental Justice Small Grant will support eventual development of a well-informed, fingertip-ready resource for stakeholders.”
EPA's Environmental Justice Small Grants program provides critical support to organizations that otherwise lack the funding and resources to address environmental challenges in underserved and overburdened communities. The funding will help organizations in 27 states and Puerto Rico carry out projects that will:
- Educate residents about environmental issues that may impact their health.
- Collect data about local environmental conditions.
- Conduct demonstrations and trainings to shed light on those conditions.
- Work collaboratively to address environmental justice challenges in their communities.
For descriptions of each of the 2019 Environmental Justice Small Grant awardees’ projects, visit https://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/environmental-justice-small-grants-program-project-descriptions-2019.
The grants will enable these organizations to conduct research, provide education and training, and develop community-driven solutions to local health and environmental issues in minority, low-income, tribal, and rural communities. Sixteen of this year’s environmental justice grant projects are in communities that are especially vulnerable to disasters.
Specific grant projects include: reducing exposure to lead and other water pollutants; developing green infrastructure and sustainable agriculture projects; implementing basic energy efficiency measures in low-income households; and increasing overall community resiliency.
For the second year in a row, EPA’s Urban Waters program provided $300,000 in funding toward some of the grant awards. Ten of the grantees selected are communities focused on improving water quality.
This year EPA received 208 applications, which is the highest number since 2013. The grant awards provide approximately $30,000 per project for a one-year project period.
For more information on the Environmental Justice Small Grants Program, including descriptions of previously funded grants: https://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/environmental-justice-small-grants-program