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Washington: International District Housing Alliance (A Former EPA CARE Project)

The summary and links below provide a description and documentation of a Seattle, Washington project that received a Level I Cooperative Agreement from EPA’s former Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) Program in 2005, and a Level II CARE Cooperative Agreement in 2007. These case studies serve as historic references, and conditions since the project was funded may have changed.

The resources developed for this project provide communities with information about ways that other communities have addressed environmental issues. Communities can use these project results to reduce environmental impacts, understand risks and become stewards of their own environment.


International District Housing Alliance (2005)
Seattle, Washington
EPA Region 10

The International District Housing Alliance (IDHA) is the recipient of a Level I CARE Cooperative Agreement. This cooperative agreement provides the opportunity to demonstrate the CARE program in an Asian and Pacific Islander community. The IDHA will use CARE funding to address the environmental problems of economically disadvantaged neighborhoods in the International District, located in Seattle, Washington. More than half of the residents in this region are Asian and Pacific Islander (API), many who have limited English language skills. This community has experienced high incidences of health disparities and environmental injustices. Among its environmental concerns are lead paint and mold, due to the age and condition of the housing stock, air and noise pollution, caused by heavy traffic on the major Interstate 5 freeway as a result of two local sports arenas, pedestrian safety, due traffic and poor infrastructure such as inadequate street lighting and uneven pavement, and odors and garbage from the numerous businesses in the area.

The IDHA developed a model that allows limited-English speaking populations to provide input on community concerns using culturally and language appropriate tools. This model forms the basis of its proposal and strives to accomplish the following: (1) convene the project partner team to develop an implementation strategy for community outreach; (2) increase community awareness by facilitating education workshops on the topic of multimedia toxics to understand toxic exposure within the context of the neighborhood; (3) develop community goals to define participants, goals, and objectives of the project; (4) organize and analyze existing data on toxins in the International District, identifying areas where information is needed and developing strategies for further data collection; (5) develop community priorities by holding community meetings; (6) develop neighborhood strategies and outline recommendations for community change based on priorities identified, and; (7) develop and conduct evaluation of program implementation and outcomes.

Under separate non-EPA funding, this project will also conduct surveys and data collection to support the CARE project.

Prospective CARE Partners: The Chinatown-International District Business Improvement Area (CIDBIA); the Environmental Health Services Division of Public Health - Seattle and King County; Sustainable Seattle; the Center for Ecogenetics and Environmental Health at the University of Washington; the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County; the International Community Health Services; Seattle Public Utilities; the City of Seattle.

International District Housing Alliance (2007)
Reducing Neighborhood Toxics Project
Seattle, Washington
EPA Region 10

he International District Housing Alliance (IDHA) is the recipient of a Level II CARE Cooperative Agreement. The mission of IDHA is to improve the quality of life of Asian and Pacific Islanders of greater Seattle by providing services related to community-building and low-income housing.  This project will focus on the International District community, with over 40 different ethnic groups living in one of Seattle’s oldest and most ethnically diverse neighborhoods. The project is a continuation of work started under the Level I CARE Cooperative Agreement to educate the community about toxics issues, expand the partnership to sustain ongoing efforts, and work on specific projects. 

IDHA has monitored the state of the local environment (using computerized neighborhood tracking devices) and conducted multilingual surveys and community meetings to determine neighborhood priorities. In partnership with various stakeholders and partners, the Level I CARE project identified potential solutions for mitigating toxics and waste, air quality and water quality concerns. These strategies will be implemented in the Level II CARE project. In the next two years, the Level II partnership intends to support the work of the Community Action Partnership, the Chinatown International District Business Improvement Area, and the Vietnamese Area Economic Development Association, through subcontracts to each organization for project implementation. Some of the projects will consist of outreach on waste reduction, anti-idling, green business, and working on a "Green Streets" campaign and a dumpster free/community-cleanup/recycling campaign.

Established CARE Partnership:  King County Solid Waste Division; Seattle Aquarium; Seattle City Light; Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation; Seattle Department of Transportation; Seattle/King County Public Health; USDA Forest Service, Washington State Departments of  Ecology, Fish and Wildlife, Health, and Transportation; Cascadia Consulting; North Cascades Institute; Olympic Park Institute; Salish Seas; University of Washington; American Lung Association; Chinatown-ID Business Improvement Area; Community Coalition for Environmental Justice; Environmental Coalition of South Seattle; Inter*Im Community Development Association; International Community Health Services; Neighborhood House; Puget Sound Clean Air Agency; Seattle Chinatown-ID Preservation and Development Authority, and Sustainable Seattle.

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