Two area neighborhoods are targeted to benefit from federal grant money recently awarded to the City of Houston.
The city said in a June 25 news release that it has been awarded a $200,000 grant as part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s State Environmental Justice Cooperative Agreement (SEJTA).
According to the city, officials will invest the grant in Inspires/Houston Inspira – a citywide public health education campaign using messaging such as cartoons, billboards, postcards and more to educate citizens on the risks communities face from elevated levels of environmental pollutants.
The city said the campaign will use the grant money to target eight priority Super Neighborhoods, including Acres Homes and Near Northside, with greater than a 90th percentile ranking in various environmental risk factors. It will work with community organizations, artists, and local students to educate community members through community-based art and storytelling activities, according to the city.
"I thank EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan for awarding Houston a grant to educate people about clean air and COVID-19 creatively,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said. “We plan to engage people in diverse neighborhoods. Communicating through art will raise awareness of environmental risks while recognizing the role that art plays in equity and advocacy.”
Residents of Acres Homes, with the help of elected officials such as Turner, fought off a proposed concrete batch plant near one of its community parks and several homes last year, with Soto Ready Mix withdrawing its application to operate a plant on De Soto Street.
"We know how important it is to put funding to work in environmentally overburdened, economically underserved areas, and today we’re excited to let our communities know that thanks to the American Rescue Plan, help is here,” Regan said.