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EPA Healthy Community Grants Will Help Protect Health in Conn.

Many Grants Address Children's Health Concerns including Asthma and Exposure to Lead

10/31/2018
Contact Information: 
John Senn (senn.john@epa.gov)
(617) 918-1019

BOSTON – Four organizations in Connecticut were awarded a total of $90,830 by the US Environmental Protection Agency to fund community projects addressing environmental and public health issues. The projects will reduce environmental risks, protect and improve human health, and improve the quality of life for communities and residents of the state.

These organizations were among the 16 across New England recently awarded a total of $387,861 through the 2018 Healthy Communities Grant Program.

The grants were given to:

  • The Town of Stratford ($25,000) for its "AirNow Air Quality Flag Program" project
  • New Haven Ecology Project, Inc. ($15,830) for its "Green Jobs Corps" project.
  • The Center for EcoTechnology ($25,000) for its "Help Hartford County's Hungry" project.
  • Community Solutions International, Inc. ($25,000) for its North Hartford Asthma and Housing Improvement Initiative

"EPA is very pleased to be working with local community groups to address specific environmental concerns that are important to people in New England," said EPA New England Regional Administrator Alexandra Dunn. "Some of these important projects being funded will help address concerns for children's health, such as reducing asthma triggers and increasing awareness about air quality."

The details of the projects in Connecticut are:

Stratford's "AirNow Air Quality Flag Program" will increase awareness of poor outdoor air quality days and of behaviors to protect against poor air quality among target communities identified as disproportionately affected with respiratory health issues. The Stratford Health Department will leverage local partnerships and institutional knowledge gained at an in-home asthma self-management program known as Putting on AIRS and the AirNow Flag Pilot project. It will use the AirNow Flag system in targeted and highly visible locations in Bridgeport and Stratford, as well as market the mobile app. Project partners include: Connecticut American Lung Association, Bridgeport Department of Health, Bridgeport Hospital, Optimus Health Care, Southwest Community Health Center, St. Vincent's Medical Center, Connecticut Department of Public Health, and Stratford School Readiness and Child Care Advisory Council.

New Haven Ecology Project's "Green Jobs Corps" will connect New Haven youth with environmental job opportunities that improve urban schoolyards, parks, and habitats in New Haven. The trainees will come from the Common Ground High School and assume environmental leadership roles at one of several placement sites, including a 20-acre urban farm, which is leased from the City of New Haven. The New Haven Ecology Project is the home of Common Ground High School, Urban Farm, and Environmental Education Center. At the farm, the students will grow pesticide-free food and distribute it to senior housing facilities and the Common Ground High School lunch program. The project also supports smaller demonstration projects that plant trees in urban areas, restore rivers, and develop forestry skills by students working in teams of five led by a graduate student intern from the Yale School of Forestry. Project partners include: Yale's Urban Resources Initiative; New Haven Public Schools; the Southern Conn. Regional Water Authority; the West River Stewards; Connecticut Fund for the Environment; the National Fish and Wildlife Service; and Audubon Connecticut.

Center for EcoTechnology's "Help Hartford County's Hungry" project seeks to identify and help generators, haulers and processors of wasted food to reduce, donate, and compost as much wasted food as possible. The project will do targeted outreach and provide technical assistance to Kindergarten-12th grade public and private schools, local event venues, colleges, universities, healthcare facilities, and hospitality facilities to help them learn about effective waste diversion techniques and approaches. The center and its partners will work with local sectors to divert as much edible food to food donation and rescue as possible, and compost or anaerobically digest what cannot be donated. Project partners include: Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, City of Hartford, Hartford Food System, Harvest New England, Quantum BioPower, and Phood.

Community Solutions International's North Hartford Asthma and Housing Improvement Initiative" will develop strategies that could work in other communities for stabilizing housing conditions in North Hartford. During a year of preparatory work, the organization mapped neighborhoods and conditions block by block, home by home throughout the North Hartford Promise Zone, using an online, interwactive mapping system. This next phase of the project will focus on the neighborhoods surrounding the Swift factory site, and the housing units in those blocks. The initiative will provide outreach to the families and landlords there and will coordinate improvements to housing conditions, including addressing mold and other asthma triggers, lead paint, code violations, and eviction risks that exacerbate asthma or otherwise undermine the health of children with asthma. It also will work to make existing resources more accessible for households. Project partners include: Connecticut Children's Medical Center.

Background

EPA New England's Healthy Communities Grant Program combines resources from several EPA programs to strategically address the environmental and public health issues burdening New England communities. Contributing programs include Air Quality Outreach, Assistance & Pollution Prevention, Asthma and Indoor Air, Children's Environmental Health, Clean, Green and Healthy Schools Initiative, Toxics and Pesticides, Urban Environmental Program, and Water Infrastructure (Stormwater, Wastewater, and Drinking Water). The program has competitively selected projects that will: assess, understand, and reduce environmental and human health risks; increase collaboration through community-based projects; build institutional and community capacity to understand and solve environmental and human health problems; advance emergency preparedness and resilience; and achieve measurable environmental and human health benefits in communities across New England.

The projects that have been awarded funding must meet several criteria including: (1) location in /or directly benefit one or more of the EPA's identified Target Investment Areas; and (2) identify how the proposed project will achieve measurable environmental and/or public health results in one or more of the EPA's identified Target Program Areas. In 2018, the Target Investment Areas included: Areas Needing to Create Community Resilience; Environmental Justice Areas of Potential Concern; and Sensitive Populations. Target Program Areas included: Clean, Green and Healthy Schools; Community and Water Infrastructure Resilience; Healthy Indoor Environments; and Healthy Outdoor Environments.

For more information about the Healthy Communities Grant Program and/or additional details about the projects, please visit https://www3.epa.gov/region1/eco/uep/hcgp.html.