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EPA ANNOUNCES ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE GRANT TO THE WAY HOME OF MANCHESTER

Release Date: 12/04/2000
Contact Information: Andrew Spejewski, EPA Press Office (617-918-1014)

BOSTON - The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency this week announced that The Way Home in Manchester is among six community groups in New England receiving a total of $83,500 in Environmental Justice Small Grants.

The Way Home of Manchester received $15,000 to educate low-income and minority households in Manchester on environmental problems in the home. Lead poisoning is a significant environmental risk for low income and minority households in Manchester. The housing is also likely to contain cockroaches, dust mites, rodents, and mold, which may trigger asthma episodes, adding to the environmental hazards in the homes in this area.

The Way Home's project will educate residents and build coalitions in the community. These coalitions will promote cooperation among landlords, tenants, city health and building department officials to protect children from environmental health hazards in the home.

"All people have a right to a clean and safe environment," said Mindy S. Lubber, Regional Administrator of EPA New England. "EPA's environmental justice grants are about making sure that every community is able to tackle the environmental problems facing them. This grant will help Manchester residents address problems in their own homes."

"The timing of this grant is encouraging for our work as there is a huge housing shortage in the city," said Mary Sliney, executive director of The Way Home. "Families who are at risk for environmental hazards such as asthma and lead poisoning don't have the option to move out. They need the homeowners and city departments to work with them to improve the environmental conditions of the existing housing stock. I am excited by this grant as it will give us the opportunity to help area families protect their children from health hazards in the home".

EPA's Environmental Justice Small Grants, first given out in 1994 are meant to help ensure equal environmental protection, and the equal enforcement of environmental laws, rules, regulations, and policies for all people, regardless of race, color, national origin, culture, or income.

The following grants were also awarded:

In Massachusetts:

Nuestras Raices in Holyoke received $15,000 to train members of the community to conduct their own environmental health assessments and computer mapping. Four young adults, members of Americorps, will be trained to conduct basic environmental and health assessments, computer mapping, and to educate the community. These young people will be trained by staff of Nuestras Raices and the U-Mass Department of Environmental Sciences.

The Campaign to Protect Chinatown in Boston received $15,000 to educate residents on the immediate and long-term effects of pollution and construction and to help them understand local environmental justice problems. The goal of this project is to promote involvement and informed decision making on the part of Chinatown residents in issues concerning their environment.

Maine:

The Casco Bay Estuary Project of the Muskie School of Public Service at The University of Southern Maine received $20,000 for a project to provide the first-ever available data on low income and ethnic populations in Casco Bay who are at risk due to subsistence shellfishing of polluted areas in Casco Bay. Local shellfish officers have noticed subsistence shellfishing in closed clam and mussel bed areas. There is now no confirmed information available on who is eating the shellfish from polluted areas or how much they are consuming. This research project will help identify the population and consumption rates and will identify what health advisories are needed.

Rhode Island:

Paddle Providence, Inc. of Providence received $15,000 to educate children and their families living along the Woonasquatucket River about safe uses of the river and health issues associated with the river. Paddle Providence will coordinate with the Providence Plan, Save the Bay, The National Parks Service and the Northern RI Conservation District to provide the education; the groups will also help youth and families living along the river to canoe and kayak on the river in order to form an appreciation for this natural resource.

Youth in Action of Providence received $3,500 for its Youth Environmental Technology Project, which will train 15 youth in computer mapping and its uses. They will be trained by computer mapping experts from the Providence Plan and the Urban Environmental Lab at Brown University. They will learn how to input data relating to environmental issues in their neighborhood, and how to use this data in simple forms to make it accessible to the community. They will then go door-to-door, explaining the information to residents and compiling a list of residents who wants to be more involved with advocacy efforts.