Region 1: EPA New England

Grants and Projects: Capacity Building


Rhode Island Legal Services, Inc.
"New England Environmental Justice Forum"

Most environmental justice groups across New England are focused on work in specific communities.  However, the issues being worked on tend to occur across most environmental justice communities.  The lack of a regular forum for those working on environmental justice issues to come together on a regular basis has been identified as one of the greatest needs.  A second unmet need is the lack of legal resources available to environmental justice groups.  Rhode Island Legal Services is the largest provider of free legal assistance on civil matters to local income Rhode Islanders and has strong relationships with several environmental justice advocates throughout New England.  This project seeks to build the capacity of environmental justice groups from Bridgeport, Providence, Boston and other local communities to address environmental justice issues on a region wide basis and increase the availability of legal services.  Project activities include convening a regional environmental justice work group, hosting an environmental justice summit, and organizing training workshops for civil legal aid providers.

Measurable Results:  Number of trainings for civil legal aid providers; Number of organizations participating in the EJ Workgroup; Number of meetings to convene the Regional EJ Work Group; Number of participants at the EJ Summit

Partners:  Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice; Alternatives for Community & Environment

Providence Community Development Corporation
Public Housing Recycling for the Elderly/Disabled

The "Public Housing Recycling for Elderly/Disabled" project will take place in Providence, Rhode Island.  The goal is empower public housing residents to improve and impact the local environment by reducing solid waste, diminishing carbon emissions, and reducing toxic materials.  Project activities include providing education and outreach about solid waste, recycling, and its effects on the environment, creating recycling centers in Providence Housing Authority's high rise developments, and working with elected floor captains to collect recyclable materials. 

Measurable Results:  Number of residents receiving education; Increase in recycling rates

Project Partners: Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island, City of Providence, Waste Management, Whole Foods

Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island
Community-Based Home Weatherization in Providence

The "Community-Based Home Weatherization in Providence" project will take place in Providence, Rhode Island.  The goal is provide outreach and education to homeowners and tenants about the benefits of residential weatherization.  It will also provide opportunities for individuals receiving job training in related fields to participate in energy efficiency efforts.  Project activities include training residents to perform basic home energy evaluations and home weatherization tasks and then to host several barn raising events. 

Measurable Results:  Number of residents trained to perform home weatherization; Number of homeowners and tenants reached; Number of barn raising events

Project Partners: YouthBuild Providence, Apeiron Institute

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Rhode Island Legal Services, Inc.
Green Teenz

The "Green Teenz" project will take place in Providence, Rhode Island.  Project activities include conducting a ten week class for 15 youth from the Hartford Park Public Housing Project in Providence, Rhode Island. Participating youth will create two 30-second public service announcement videos (one in English and one in Spanish) on the threats to human health posed by common household cleaning products and a 5-minute video on how solid waste and trash contribute to poor living and health conditions in low-income neighborhoods.

Measurable Results: Number of youth participants; Number of videos produced

Project Partners:  Hartford Park Residents Association

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Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island
CARE for Environmental Justice

Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island (EJLRI) in Providence, Rhode Island, is a recipient of a Level I CARE cooperative agreement. EJLRI is an alliance of individuals and organizations working together to promote environmental justice through advocacy, education, networking, organizing, and research.  Rhode Island's capitol city, Providence, is the target community for this project and is the state's largest environmental justice community. EJLRI is particularly interested in Providence's low income and non-white residents. Through the CARE project, EJLRI will work with Providence residents and stakeholders to determine the sources of existing and potential risks from toxics and environmental pollutants. Under the CARE cooperative agreement, EJLRI will conduct research, produce reports, and organize public events. The alliance will set priorities for pollution reduction, inventory and highlight community assets, and take action in the community to reduce exposure to harmful substances. EJLRI also aims to develop a Community Environmental College in partnership with Brown University that will offer free classes to people of all ages.

Measurable Results: Number of organizations/residents participating; Number of meetings held; Number of issues/topics discussed; Number of issue profiles created; Creation of an action plan

Prospective CARE Partners: The Childhood Lead Action Project, Direct Action for Rights and Equality, Southside Community Land Trust, the Woonsocket River Watershed Council, Rhode Island Legal Services, Brown University, Brown University's Superfund Community Outreach Core, Hartford Park Residents Association, Toxics Action Center, Toxics Information Project, Environmental Council of Rhode Island, Direct Action for Rights and Equality (DARE), Environment Rhode Island, and Rhode Island Department of Health.

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Rhode Island Legal Services (Providence, RI)
The Providence Environmental Justice Forum

Rhode Island Legal Services is the sole provider of legal services to low-income Rhode Islander residents in civil matters and has provided service and assistance on environmental justice issues for local residents since 1999. “The Providence Environmental Justice Forum” will expand community collaboration and build community capacity to understand and address local environmental issues. The project will provide multilingual (English and Spanish) information, outreach, training and educational materials to city residents about environmental justice issues of concern to the community. The information will also including applicable laws and policies such as Brownfields, toxics, asthma, lead poisoning, healthy schools, healthy homes, and other community-identified concerns. The project will build a base of resident activists in the first-of-its kind workgroup that will meet monthly to identify issues of concern, plan educational forums for Providence residents, and result in a large conference that will formally launch the Providence Environmental Justice Forum. The forum will serve as a gathering place to join all interested residents together to work in partnership for improved environmental and public health.

Measurable Results: Publication of two to five informational brochures written (English and Spanish) on Providence environmental and public health issues; 500 copies of each brochure distributed to community agencies (up to 2,500 brochures); regular meetings of the Providence environmental justice workgroup with a minimum of 10-15 residents; three educational forums for at least 150 community members on environmental issues; public conference on environmental justice issues in Providence.

Partners: Hartford Park Residents Association, Concerned Residents of Reservoir Triangle and South Providence, Brown University’s Superfund Basic Research and Training Program (Community Outreach Core)

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