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EPA Grants Will Help Promote Healthy Communities in Maine

Release Date: 10/12/2006
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – Oct. 12, 2006) – Four separate EPA grants totaling approximately $100,000 will help Maine communities reduce environmental risks and protect public health. The funding is part of 22 grants worth nearly $527,000 across New England being made available under EPA’s Healthy Communities Grant Program.

Projects receiving these funds will reduce environmental risk, protect and improve human health, and improve the quality of life for communities across New England. The Maine and New England-wide projects will build on ongoing environmental and public health initiatives throughout the state. The Healthy Communities Grants in Maine were awarded to two groups - Portland Trails and Maine Indoor Air Quality Council:

Portland Trails ($30,000) – Portland Trails serves as an advocate for protecting natural places by engaging community participation in trail stewardship and providing programming for sustained use of sites. The project will transform at least three asphalt-dominated schoolgrounds into greener, healthier, more productive areas by developing a coalition of community members, local agencies, and local businesses which will reclaim and restore school areas into schoolground-parks in Portland as centers for community gathering, environmental education, and stewardship. A Schoolground Greening Conference will also be held to educate, engage and inform Portland residents about the greening of schoolground-parks and teach key principles of environmental stewardship in urban areas.

Maine Indoor Air Quality Council ($10,660) – The Maine Indoor Air Quality Council (MIAQC) provides training, education and outreach for construction professionals on air quality and ventilation problems to improve indoor air quality. The “Tribal Housing Construction for Indoor Air Quality” project will modify and training to reach in-state affordable housing construction professionals, specifically tribal contractors and those working in Native American tribal members housing. This will help improve the quality of the indoor environment in new and existing tribal homes.

The Healthy Communities Grant Program joins resources from nine EPA programs to strategically address environmental and public health issues burdening New England communities. Funding is used to restore or revitalize the environment; provide education, outreach, and training; and organize and conduct community planning activities. Eligible projects must meet several criteria, including: (1) Be located in and/or directly benefit one or more of the 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 identified Target Program Areas. Target Investment Areas and Target Program Areas are identified in the annual Request for Initial Proposal.

In addition to these projects, two New England-wide projects are being awarded which will also benefit Maine citizens. The projects are:

The Medical Foundation ($42,000) – The Asthma Regional Council (ARC) brings together leaders from the environmental, education, public health, community development, and housing fields to work towards reducing asthma and the effect of the disease on children and families across New England. The ARC will continue its leadership role, work to develop a region-wide policy report on improved data mining strategies to better understand asthma prevalence, and will conduct a business case study for documenting the value of comprehensive asthma education and trigger reduction to become a reimbursable medical service.

Cultivating Community ($17,401) – The “Healthy Landscapes for Affordable Housing” project will develop information and guidance on creating healthy home landscapes affordably, and distribute information and knowledge to key stakeholders in affordable housing in Boston, MA and Portland, ME. In a one-day workshop, a diverse set of stakeholders will convene to present information on environmental health and landscape issues and to collaboratively produce a sample design for an affordable housing site. The workshop results will be compiled into an illustrated guidance document to be shared publicly on ways to design or promote green landscapes, particularly at affordable housing sites.

More information: EPA's Healthy Communities Grant Program (epa.gov/region01/eco/uep/hcgp.html)

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