EPA To Award $500K To South Bronx Organization To Combat Impacts Of Climate Change

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Published on June 21, 2024, 4:32 pm
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Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia and We Stay / Nos Quedamos joined other dignitaries at a rooftop community garden to mark the selection of the organization to be awarded a half million dollars to support a climate justice project. The grant is under the Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem Solving Cooperative Agreement Program (EJ CPS) to advance a new climate resilience and emergency preparedness project in the South Bronx.

Through the project, entitled Climate Justice, Community Resilience, and Emergency Preparedness Curricula for South Bronx Youth and Adults, Nos Quedamos will give South Bronx community residents the skills needed to prepare for climate change and associated impacts such as flooding, blackouts, and the urban heat island effect. The grant will also support improvements to physical infrastructure in the form of hubs. These local climate resiliency hubs at three public sites will be equipped with solar panels, wireless charging stations, water catchment systems and more. They will serve as havens during emergency and climate-related events. Nos Quedamos’ project will bolster community knowledge to increase local climate leadership.

“As we combat extreme heat and other climate issues, EPA is happy to support organizations like Nos Quedamos leading the way towards sustainable, healthier communities,” said EPA Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia. “This grant, funded by the Inflation Reduction Act will help support climate resilience efforts in communities such as the South Bronx in a very real way.”

“We Stay / Nos Quedamos is excited to receive the EJ CPS grant from the EPA, through which we will be developing a novel environmental justice and housing justice curriculum for youth leaders in the Bronx, who are on the frontlines of climate justice and community resiliency work” said Nos Quedamos’ Basil Alsubee. “Our curriculum is produced through a joint collaboration with the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance and the City University of New York, bringing faculty, students, organizers, and youth community members at the table to discuss learning objectives and pedagogy. Our curriculum centers on field trips, movie screenings, board games, mapping activities on GIS, and other interactive skills-based and hyper-local place-based learning tools. The curriculum combines knowledge and practice in community organizing and community planning, gearing our youth to be change-makers, educators, and planners in their own communities.”

“EPA’s EJ CPS program is vital to advancing environmental justice and helping organizations that provide assistance to communities impacted by climate change, pollution, and other environmental stressors,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “I am thrilled to see We Stay/Nos Quedamos receive this $500,000 in federal funding from the Inflation Reduction Act that will help boost climate resilience and emergency preparedness in the South Bronx. As the impacts of climate change continue to harm our communities, I will continue to fight for federal resources to support organizations working to advance environmental justice.”

“As we increasingly feel the effects of climate change, there is no nobler cause than working on the ground to prepare our communities for the ever-changing future,” said U.S. Representative Ritchie Torres (NY-15). “It is my honor to stand with Nos Quedamos and their critical work of fostering resilience. Congratulations to them on securing this transformative grant, which I know will be reinvested into the people of the South Bronx and make a real difference. I look forward to working with the EPA and other federal agencies to increase opportunities for grassroots environmental organizations in the South Bronx and beyond.”

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Interim Commissioner Sean Mahar said, “I applaud the Biden-Harris Administration, EPA Administrator Regan, and Regional Administrator Garcia for their continued commitment and investments to ensure the Bronx and other communities vulnerable to sources of pollution are able to improve vital physical infrastructure to increase resiliency in the wake of climate change impacts. This $500,000 federal investment complements the many actions Governor Hochul, DEC, and other public and private partners are advancing to help improve resiliency to extreme heat, flooding, and other climate impacts in environmental justice communities.”

EPA’s EJ CPS program provides financial assistance to eligible organizations working to address local environmental or public health issues in their communities. The program builds upon President Biden’s Executive Orders 13985 and 14008, creating a designation of funds exclusively for small nonprofit organizations, thus ensuring that grant resources reach organizations that may have not applied for federal funding in the past.

We Stay/Nos Quedamos, along with four other New York city based community-based organizations were selected for EJ CPS grants late last year totaling close to $1.8 million in total. 

From the start of the Biden-Harris Administration, achieving environmental justice has been a top priority. in August 2022, Congress passed, and President Biden signed, the Inflation Reduction Act into law, creating the largest investment in environmental and climate justice in U.S. history. EPA received $3 billion in appropriations to provide grants and technical assistance for activities advancing environmental and climate justice. 

Learn more information on the Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem Solving Cooperative Agreement Program.

Follow EPA Region 2 on X and visit our Facebook page. For more information about EPA Region 2, please visit here.

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Featured image credit: DepositPhotos.com

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