BOSTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the selection of Healthy Communities Grants across Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. Two of the awarded grants will provide benefits throughout New England. Today’s announcement represents a $744,000 investment in community-based projects that will help to make progress on crucial public health, environmental and climate resilience related challenges ranging from much needed food waste diversion to floodplain protection and toxics awareness.
“Across New England, communities are grappling with climate change impacts, food waste management challenges and other public health related challenges, and these issues are exacerbated in communities that have environmental justice concerns based on a history of being overburdened by pollution,” said EPA Regional Administrator David W. Cash. “EPA is thrilled to use its Healthy Communities Grant program to help fund projects that empower communities to address these challenges.”
EPA New England’s Healthy Communities Grant Program is community focused funding that selects projects that will work to strategically address critical environmental and public health issues burdening New England communities.
The grant selections are listed below by state.
Connecticut- $110,000 total funding
- Center for EcoTechnology (CET)– $40,000- Accelerating Wasted Food Solutions in Connecticut: This project will focus on a food recovery and food waste diversion focused on sensitive populations and Environmental Justice Areas of Potential Concern, especially in Hartford and New Haven Counties.
- Operation Fuel, Inc. – $30,000- Better Homes and Buildings Program: This project will increase education and outreach on home energy best practices for low and moderate income single family homeowners and residents of residential units in the New Haven region.
- City of Middletown, CT– $40,000- Fostering Circular Solutions for Takeout Containers: This project will foster new and emerging industries that support reusable takeout containers and will directly advance the U.S.’s National Recycling Strategy put forth by the EPA in 2021. It will support Connecticut in moving towards its goal of a 60% waste diversion rate with a specific focus on single-use trash
Massachusetts- $266,255 total funding
- Groundwork Lawrence– $30,000- Groundwork Lawrence’s Connecting Residents and Businesses with Resources – an Energy Efficiency Initiative: This project will focus on education and outreach to residents in small buildings (1-4 units) and small businesses in the Merrimack Valley (Lawrence, Methuen and Haverhill) to connect them with energy assessments and energy efficiency retrofits for their homes and small businesses.
- Loving Spoonfuls, Inc.- $40,000- Food Rescue and Hunger Relief in Massachusetts: This project seeks to relieve food insecurity in Greater Boston, MetroWest, Hampden County, and Worcester County by increasing access to fresh, healthy food; and reduce the environmental impact wasted food has on communities.
- Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational and Healthy Safety (MassCOSH)- $30,000- Using a Peer Leadership Model to Ensure Clean, Green and Healthy Schools: This project focuses on developing the capacity of low-income communities of color to achieve healthy environments at work and in neighborhoods.
- Product Stewardship Institute (PSI)- $39,992- Restaurants Building Back Better with Less Packaging and Plastic Waste: This project focuses on education and outreach materials, technical support, and funding to reduce the use of single use foodservice ware in small restaurants in low‐income areas where English is a second language.
- Growing Places Project, Inc. – $39,997- Local Food Works – Closing the Loop: This project focuses on preventing food waste in North Central Massachusetts (NCMA) over two years. With a focus on Fitchburg and Leominster.
- Centre de Apoyo Familiar– $26,674- Healthy Families/ Healthy Communities Asthma Prevention and Indoor Air Quality Grant: This project will equip the communities of Lawrence, Worcester, Fall River, Boston, Springfield, and Methuen with information and resources about environmental and public health issues through educational workshops in asthma, lead, mercury, and other issues.
- Appalachian Mountain Club– $29,592- Living Downstream: Community engagement in assessing and understanding legacy mercury pollution in the Northeast: This project will engage the Lowell and Lawrence communities in developing indicators of mercury risk throughout the Merrimack River watershed in Massachusetts in 2022-2023.
- Center for EcoTechnology (CET)- $30,000- Catalyzing the Induction Stove Market in Massachusetts: This project aims to raise consumer awareness about the vast and multi-faceted benefits of induction stoves, from their energy and cost savings potential to improvements in indoor air quality and resident health, to the cooking experience
Rhode Island- $191,335 total funding
- Center of EcoTechnology (CET) $40,000- Sustaining Wasted Food Solutions for Providence County: This project will reduce the quantity of wasted food entering the municipal solid waste stream by working with target entities, including K–12 schools, event venues, healthcare facilities, colleges/universities, hospitality facilities, and food rescue and donation organizations.
- MEANS Database partnering with Rescuing Leftover Cuisine– $30,000- Rhode Island & Bristol County Food Recovery Extension: This project aims to significantly improve both food sustainability and food equity in the state of Rhode Island and in neighboring Bristol County, MA.
- Woonasquatucket River Watershed Association– $30,000- Frontline Communities First! Residents Build Climate Resilience in the Woonasquatucket River Watershed: This project builds capacity of resident and student leaders in the impaired and climate vulnerable lower Woonasquatucket River Watershed to develop plans and projects that address the environmental and public health challenges these communities already face; climate change related flooding from both excessive stormwater and sea level rise; poor water and habitat quality; urban heat island; and riverbank erosion and scouring.
- Environment Council of Rhode Island– $40,000- Rhode Island Schools Recycling Club (RISRC) Get Food Smart, RI; Phase 3: This project will be a catalyst for the behavioral changes that will be required of all RI schools to understand the problems associated with food waste and comply with the new RI school food waste diversion law.
- Childhood Lead Action Project (CLAP)- $30,000- Central Falls Lead Safety Project: This project will work to reduce lead poisoning in Central Falls by participating in a multi-stakeholder community outreach, funding, and enforcement strategy that will proactively target a never-before-available citywide list of rental properties lacking lead safety certificates.
- Refugee Development Center- $21,335- Healthy Homes, Healthy Lives for Refugees: This program, in alignment with the Rhode Island Asthma State Plan 2014-2019, will provide asthma management and prevention interventions that serve communities of color and low-income communities in the core cities of Rhode Island.
New Hampshire- $76,530- total funding
- Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association, Inc. (NEWMOA)- $40,000- Green Cleaning & Disinfecting in Southern New Hampshire EJ Communities: This project will educate janitorial employees and residents in the environmental justice communities of Nashua and Manchester about the benefits of and methods for adopting green cleaning products and practices.
- Northeast Resource Recovery Association (NRRA)- $36,530- Increasing C&D Diversion in Coos County: This project will enable Coos County communities to increase construction and demolition diversion through reuse and recycling instead of landfilling.
Maine- $29,999- total funding
- Defend Our Health – Environmental Health Strategy Center- $29,999- Healthy Housing with the Rwandan Community in Maine: This project will reduce the prevalence of housing-linked health conditions amongst new Mainers, specifically in the Rwandan community, in southern Maine by equipping them with information and resources to identify and address hazardous conditions.
New England- $70,000 total funding
- Health Resources in Action (HRiA)- $30,000 – Building Capacity and Supporting Collaboration to Reduce the Burden of Asthma Across New England: This project will build knowledge, identify opportunities, and strengthen cross-state collaborations and regional partnerships to address the environmental causes and triggers for asthma, and work collectively with a focus on reducing asthma health inequities to improve quality of life for everyone living with asthma in New England.
- Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR)- $40,000, Composting for Community Initiative: This project will help cultivate community-scale composting in the region’s 6 states and 10 tribal communities.
The Healthy Communities Grant Program allows EPA New England to work directly with communities to reduce environmental risks, protect and improve human health and improve the quality of life. To qualify as eligible projects under the Healthy Communities Grant Program, proposed projects must: be located in and/or directly benefit one or more of the Target Investment Areas; and identify how the proposed project will achieve measurable environmental and/or public health results in one or more of the Target Program Areas.
To learn more about the Healthy Communities Grant Program in Region 1:
To learn more about on children’s environmental health research: https://www.epa.gov/children/childrens-environmental-health-research.
To learn more about what EPA is doing to protect children’s health: https://www.epa.gov/children
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Author: Region 01