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EPA Announces 6 Healthy Communities Grants worth over $190,000 Awarded in Rhode Island

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BOSTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the selection of six Healthy Communities Grants in Rhode Island out of 22 grants across New England. Today’s announcement represents a $191,000 investment for Rhode Island community 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.”

“There is a strong, direct connection between the environment, public health, economic health, and community well-being. And it takes collaboration between both public and private entities to reach our goal of a stronger, safer, healthier Rhode Island. This $191,000 in federal funding to six outstanding Rhode Island recipients will empower local organizations to address critical environmental and public health challenges and make our communities and the state, a cleaner, healthier place for all,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee.

“These Healthy Communities Grants will help solve pressing environmental and public health issues in the Ocean State,” said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “I’m grateful to the grant recipients for their work to improve the quality of life for Rhode Islanders, especially in our environmental justice communities.”

“The $191,000 in federal funding announced today through the EPA’s Healthy Communities Grant Program will strengthen the health and well-being of more Rhode Islanders, particularly in communities that have experienced the heaviest burden of environmental and health hazards,” said U.S. Representative David Cicilline. “These funds will help our most vulnerable communities through key investments in environmental risk prevention, public health resources, and food waste management. Thank you to the organizations leading the projects that will benefit from this federal funding, and to EPA New England for their support in reducing environmental risks and improving the quality of life for all Rhode Islanders.”

“The EPA knows that the health of our environment is inextricably tied to the health of our communities,” said U.S. Representative Jim Langevin. “The Healthy Communities Grants allow local community organizations and advocates to strategically address the intersection of the climate change crisis and local public health emergencies. By funding this important work, we can invest in our most vulnerable neighborhoods and make Rhode Island a greener, healthier place to live and visit.”

“When everyone, regardless of zip code, enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and has equal access to the decision-making process that leads to a healthier environment, then Rhode Island will be a fairer, better place,” said Department of Environmental Management Director Terry Gray. “I am pleased that these six organizations – which exemplify environmental justice in action – will receive grant funding to pursue their vital work and appreciate all the good that EPA accomplishes through its Healthy Communities Grant Program.”

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. This year entities across New England are receiving a total of $744,000 in Healthy Community Grant funding.

Rhode Island- $191,335 total funding

  • Center of EcoTechnology- $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.

Background

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:

https://www3.epa.gov/region1/eco/uep/hcgp.html

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

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