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Four Connecticut Communities Receive Healthy Communities Grants

Release Date: 10/24/2003
Contact Information: Andrew Spejewski, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1014

BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced today that four projects in Connecticut have been awarded grants valued at a total of $105,000 through EPA New England's new Healthy Communities Grant Program. These projects, which were among 25 selected in New England, aim to create healthy, livable and safe communities.

Grants ranging from $15,000 to $30,000 were given to The Naugatuck Valley Health District; the Connecticut Department of Public Health; the Connecticut Citizen Research Group for a project in the greater Hartford area; and The East End Community Council in Bridgeport.

Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's New England office, made the announcement at a workshop on Healthy Environments in Connecticut Schools.

"All of New England's residents deserve to live in areas with clean air, open space and healthy homes and schools," said Varney. "These grants will help community partners in their efforts to create healthier and safer environments for all residents."

The Healthy Communities Grant Program was initiated this year by EPA New England to identify community projects that address one or more of the following topics: asthma; increasing the capacity of community groups to address environment and public health problems; community air toxics, indoor environments, healthy schools, preserving and restoring natural resources and open space in cities; urban development and redevelopment, and urban transportation. The grants are geared to target locations that face high risks from air pollution, benefit sensitive populations, benefit potential environmental justice areas, or are in urban areas.

The grants went to the following recipients in Connecticut for these projects:

    • The Naugatuck Valley Health District ($30,000), Child Asthma Indoor Risk Reduction Ways: The Naugatuck Valley Health District receives many calls each year from parents wanting help with an asthmatic child. This project will fund the CAIRWAYS program to reduce the incidence of asthma through education efforts for children with asthma and their caregivers. The program will address indoor asthma triggers including secondhand smoke, dust mites, pets, molds, and pests and identify actions that can be taken to reduce exposure to these triggers. Project partners include the local Head Start, Child Services, and school system as well as private and public health care offices.
    • The Connecticut Department of Public Health ($30,000), Implementing Tools for Schools in Connecticut Urban Cities: The Conn. School Indoor Environment Resource Team has brought the Tools for Schools program to more than 200 schools. This project will allow the resource team to expand on past successes to reach schools in New Haven, Bridgeport, Waterbury, Stamford and other urban communities. A training program will train in-school teams and a workshop will be held on conducting a walkthrough evaluation and identifying indoor air quality concerns. The team will also develop a "follow-up protocol" to help schools maintain the program and measure results. Project partners include the Connecticut Education Association; the American Lung Association of Connecticut; the Connecticut Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (Conn COSH); the University of Connecticut School of Medicine; Yale University; Connecticut OSHA, Connecticut DEP, the Connecticut PTA, and the Connecticut Interlocal Risk Management Agency.
    • The Connecticut Citizen Research Group ($30,000), Health Education and Lead Poisoning Prevention: The Connecticut Citizen Research Group runs a Lead Safe House Shelter and Healthy Homes program in Hartford that provides temporary housing to families with children suffering from asthma or lead poisoning. The group also provides outreach and education to families and property owners. This project will allow the group to expand its service area beyond Hartford to the urban neighborhoods of Bristol, East Hartford, Meriden, Manchester, Middletown, New Britain, Vernon and Waterbury. It will provide educational programs and safe housing to children and families as needed. It will also help notifying rental property owners of lead paint notification requirements, informing low-incoming tenants of their legal rights, and documenting and reporting violations of the law. St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center and Connecticut Children's Medical Center will be partners in the project.
    • The East End Community Council ($15,000), Neighborhood Environmental Action Team: A house by house survey of the East End neighborhood of Bridgeport, Conn. found children were at high risk for lead poisoning. Local housing stock is old, lead paint is prevalent, and the area includes low-income, diverse families. This project will screen children under the age of six for lead poisoning. Children with high lead levels will be referred to the city for follow-up. Families will be visited to determine the extent of lead hazards in their homes, and in-home outreach and education will be provided. Project partners include the Health Promotion Center and the City of Bridgeport Environmental Health Department.
In addition to the Connecticut projects, EPA has given $30,000 to the Asthma Regional Council of the Medical Foundation, a collaboration of governmental and non-governmental entities, for a project to reduce childhood asthma around New England. Through this project, called the Regional Collaboration to Address Asthma and the Environment, the council will coordinate efforts to monitor asthma trends and correlate trends to indoor and outdoor air quality. The council will bring together leaders from different levels of government, public and environmental health experts, academics, community development and advocacy groups. It will work with policy makers and health insurers to support programs to reduce indoor air pollutants. The Boston Urban Asthma Coalition, the Conn. Department of Public Health and the US Department of Health and Human Services are working with the regional council.

The 2003 Healthy Communities Grant Program was designed in EPA New England and joins together resources from nine different programs including Assistance & Pollution Prevention: Schools Sector, Asthma, Children's Environmental Health, Community Air Toxics, Pesticides, Smart Growth, Tools for Schools, Toxics, and the Urban Environmental Program. The grant program competitively identifies top quality community-based projects that will achieve measurable environmental and human health improvements in communities across New England in the target investment areas of environmental justice areas of potential concern, places with high risks from toxic air pollution, service sensitive populations, and/or are urban areas.

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