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EPA Awards $270K for Environmental and Health Projects in New England Communities

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David Deegan (

BOSTON - EPA has awarded 12 grants across New England under its 2016 Healthy Communities Grant Program, totaling approximately $270,566, 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 across New England.

The 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 Assistance & Pollution Prevention; Asthma; Children's Environmental Health and Clean, Green and Healthy Schools Initiative; Toxics; 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 2016, the Target Investment Areas included: Areas at Risk from Climate Change Impacts, Environmental Justice Areas of Potential Concern, Making a Visible Difference (MVD) Communities, and Sensitive Populations. Target Program Areas included: Clean, Green and Healthy Schools; Community and Water Infrastructure Resilience; Healthy Indoor Environments; Healthy Outdoor Environments; and Tribal Youth Environmental Programs.

"EPA is very proud to provide much-needed funding to so many deserving projects in communities throughout New England states," said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. "Our Healthy Communities Grants make a real difference advancing local projects that result in a cleaner environment that benefits people's lives."

The grants were awarded to the following recipients:


Charter Oaks Communities was awarded $25,000 for their "Fairgate Farm Community Composting Initiative" project. The project seeks to expand the recently launched Fairgate Farm Community Composting Initiative to educate Stamford's West Side residents and businesses about composting by providing one-on-one outreach, hands-on composting demonstrations, and educational resources about the benefits of composting to educate residents, community partners, and volunteers. Additionally, the project team will distribute 5 and 50 gallon containers for compost collection and manage weekly compost drop-offs at seven local organizations. Project partners include: City of Stamford; Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County; Connecticut Food Bank; Franklin Street Works; New Covenant Center; Schofield Manor; Shop Rite; and Starbucks.

The Center of Ecological Technology was awarded $20,000 for their "Don't Waste Bridgeport" project. The project seeks to reduce the quantity of wasted food by working with target wasted food generators in Bridgeport including K-12 public/private schools, venues, grocers, healthcare facilities, colleges/universities, hospitality facilities, and food rescue/donation organizations to reduce, donate, and compost as much wasted food as possible with the ultimate goal of reducing environmental impacts and getting needed food to residents in need. Project partners include: Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport (CCGB); Betsy & Jessie Fink Foundation; Community Plates; and Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.


Wabanaki Health Wellness was awarded $25,000 for their "WaYS to Healthy Communities" project. The project seeks meld science and traditional ecological knowledge into an interactive curriculum for grades 6-12 to develop awareness among tribal youth regarding environmental stewardship as it relates to healthy community ecosystems, land and water. Three key activities include providing seasonal "mini-earth" camps for students, hosting a week-long camp for high school students and providing mentor/mentee internships at the greenhouses on tribal lands throughout Maine. Project partners include the Aroostook Band of Micmacs; Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians; Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point and Indian Township; and the Penobscot Indian Nation.


Neighborhood of Affordable Housing was awarded $15,000 for their "ClimateCARE East Boston" project. This project seeks to design and distribute bilingual (Spanish & English) education materials on climate change environmental impacts to residents, promoting a basement toxics clean-out program in homes/businesses, and convening an Adaptive Planning Work Group to address climate change impacts. Project Partners include: UMass Boston School for the Environment.

North Brookfield Public Schools was awarded $24,615 for their "NB CARES (Conservation and Reduction Equals Success)" project. This project seeks to enable the district to address portions of both the District Improvement Plan and the town's Capital Improvement Plan by increasing environmental education opportunities for students on of how to improve indoor environmental quality, promoting greener hygiene and cleaning practices throughout the school district, and replacing inefficient plumbing fixtures throughout the district that impact water quality issues Project partners include: Bay Path Regional Vocational High School.

Boston Public Health Commission was awarded $24,790 for their "Promoting Occupational Health" project. This project seeks to help to improve the quality of the indoor environment in Boston hair salons by promoting the use of alternative products and practices to decrease the amount of hazardous chemicals being used. This will result in less indoor/outdoor air pollution from organic solvents and other volatile chemicals due to replacement with alternatives; decreased risk for health impacts for workers due to reduced exposure to chemicals, dust, and injury risks at work; reduction in solid waste and soil/water contamination; and a measurable contribution to improving Boston's environment by reducing adverse health effects associated with exposure to environmental hazards. Project partners include: The Safe Shop; University of Massachusetts (TURI); Massachusetts Healthy Cosmology Committee (HCC); Black Women for Wellness; Epiphany Hair Care Studio; Brandies University; Clean Water Action; and Massachusetts Office of Technical Assistance (OTA).

Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health was awarded $25,000 for their "Asthma Prevention through Peer Leadership and Engagement in Schools (APPLES) Phase 2" project. This project seeks to deploy a peer leadership model, training youth as peer leaders to achieve measurable reduction of adverse environmental health triggers, improve asthma management, and enhance the school's capacity to address environmental health. Project partners include: Health Resources in Action (HRiA); Girls Inc. of Lynn, MA; Inspiring Souls Inc.; Massachusetts Asthma AP; Boston Public Schools; Boston Public Health Commission; and Brockton Envirothon Team.

Health Resources in Action's Asthma Regional Council (ARC) was awarded $25,000 for their "Promoting New England Asthma Innovation Collaborative Results" project. This Boston-based organization will conduct a project to promote the broad replication and sustainable financing for asthma home visiting services to increase capacity so that any New England child with poorly controlled asthma may benefit from asthma home visits, resulting in reduced exposure to environmental asthma triggers and cost-effective asthma control. Project partners include: Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) VT, ME, MA, RI, NH, and CT; Boston Children's Hospital; Boston Medical Center; Pioneer Valley Asthma Coalition; Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, MA; St. Joseph's Health Center; Hasbro Children's Hospital; Thundermist Health Center; Middlesex Hospital; Children's Medical Group; Rutland Regional Medical Center.


The Way Home, Inc. was awarded $25,000 for their "Healthy Home Peer Education" project. This project seeks to provide high risk households with in-home assessments, education, and support services. These efforts will help reduce residents' exposure to hazards, empower low-income renters with skills to identify/address healthy home issues, and build alliances to motivate landlords to improve housing conditions. Project partners include: Conservation Law Foundation; Granite State Organizing Project; K Kirkwood Consulting; Division of Public Health Services; One Touch; Manchester Health Department (MHD); City of Manchester Lead Hazard Reduction Program; New Hampshire Housing (NHHFA); and NH Property Owners Association.


Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council was awarded $16,375 for their "Promoting Healthy Urban Land and Water Resources" project. This project seeks to connect the urban community with their natural surroundings through a variety of programming such as providing education to teachers on methods of using public city parks and rivers as outdoor classrooms, providing summer nature camps to urban youth, hosting a River Adventurers program for urban middle-school students, hosting greenway services days to educate people on safe uses of Woonasquatucket resources and their role in improving them, and conducting the Parks Academy to build and strengthen the capacity of volunteer groups and educators within the city to make parks safer and cleaner. Project partners include: Partnership for Providence Parks; Roger Williams Park Zoo; Audubon Society of Rhode Island; Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management; Paul Cuffee Elementary School; Providence After School Alliance; and Metropolitan School.

Childhood Lead Action Project was awarded $19,786 for their "Lead-Safe Providence Initiative" project. This project seeks to form a Lead-Safe Providence committee with tenants and other stakeholders and provide trainings for Latino renovation and repair specialists to train them on the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule and lead-safe work practices. Through these efforts, the project seeks to increase the safety of rental properties in Providence's high risk neighborhoods; improve tenant awareness of legal protections and resources available to keep their children safe from lead exposure, and increase the lead safety knowledge and expertise of Latino renovation and repair specialists. Project partners include: City of Providence and RI Medical-Legal Partnership.


Northwest Regional Planning Commission was awarded $25,000 for their "Stormwater Education for Watershed Resiliency" project. This project seeks to design and conduct an education and outreach campaign geared to address water quality and climate resilience concerns in rural areas resulting from stormwater, erosion, flow redirection and pollutants. Workshop tools will be created and two workshops will be hosted for landowners on Stormwater Best Management Practices. Train-the-trainer sessions will then be hosted for each of the Regional Planning Commissions in Vermont to share workshop tools. Project partners include: Friends of Northern Lake Champlain; Missisquoi River Basin Association; and State of Vermont Agency of National Resources.

More information about EPA New England's Healthy Communities Grant Program and the funded projects (