Saturday, June 16, 2007

EPA awards $100,000 environmental justice grant to Cleveland Tenants Organization

The Cleveland Tenants Organization is one of 10 non-profits across the country awarded a $100,000 environmental justice grant by the EPA. This is noteworthy as this is probably the first time the Office of Environmental Justice has ever done anything worthwhile.

The grant is part of EPA's Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving program that supports environment and public health improvements in low-income communities around the nation. According to a report by the national bar association in 1993, 96% of hazardous toxic waste dumps were in minority own areas. That hasn't changed, the pricks in the Bush administration have done nothing about it.

From the Press Release (caveat emptor): Cleveland Tenants Organization - in conjunction with Environmental Health Watch - plans to reduce exposure to indoor air hazards in low-income, multi-family rental housing. It hopes to accomplish that by conducting educational outreach, performing building inspections, organizing tenants to affect local policy decisions and providing resources such as home visits in Greater Cleveland.

According to Cleveland Tenants Organization Executive Director Michael J. Piepsny, "Greater Cleveland's housing landscape embodies the affordable housing crisis facing our country." There are currently 230,000 rental properties in the Cleveland area, 89 percent of which were built prior to 1979, before laws regulating hazards like lead in paint.

"Deplorable conditions -- disrepair due to aging housing stock, poor management or owner neglect and disregard for building and health codes -- place low-income people at risk for lead poisoning, asthma and other health problems," said Piepsny. "We look forward to working with Environmental Health Watch and EPA to assure that this sensitive population's homes are healthy and safe."

In 2007, EPA awarded $1 million in grants across the country for improving the environment in low income communities. Financial assistance under the Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving program is available to all non-profit organizations designated by the IRS or recognized by the state, territory, commonwealth or tribe in which it is located.

The purpose of the funding is to assist affected communities so they can develop new approaches to environmental justice issues and to achieve community health and sustainability. Since 1994, EPA's Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving program has provided more than $31 million in funding to more than 1,100 community-based organizations.

Black Bear Speaks in no way endorses the actions of the EPA as it is currently controlled by the assholes in the Bush Administration. This problem is so monumental and the funds being sent are tiny in comparison. Most likely this program will accomplish nothing until the Bushies are ousted from power.

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