ICAST’s Work with Environmental Justice Communities Advances Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
As recently announced, ICAST was awarded $50,000 in funding from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to serve multifamily affordable housing (MFAH) property owners in environmental justice (EJ) communities in New Mexico. Maintaining healthy, affordable housing is a clear EJ goal: it promotes healthy, productive, and sustainable environments for underserved communities including people of color, disabled individuals, and fixed-income seniors—all of whom often face health risks associated with exposure to toxins and poor indoor air quality. For this project, Creating Energy Efficient and Healthy Homes in Environmental Justice Communities, ICAST will work with partners to outreach to MFAH business owners and provide educational opportunities and property assessments. These services will help owners understand the funding available to them to implement health and safety, energy efficiency, and water conservation measures at their properties.
Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) have become guiding principles within the renewable energy industry, as equitable access to energy efficiency technologies remains critical. ICAST’s proposed project aligns with the pollution prevention area of EPA’s Healthy Environmental Living Program (HELP), as many of these small businesses lack the knowledge and resources necessary to implement source reduction practices. ICAST’s project, and national work, align with the current JEDI and EJ frameworks advocated for by the Government. This month, the White House created a new website that highlights their current EJ goals and the disproportionate impacts disadvantaged communities suffer from climate change. The U.S. Department of Energy has also announced new, future funding opportunities that align with the Justice40 Initiative’s goal that 40 percent of Federal investments flow to communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution. ICAST continues to take advantage of every possible opportunity presented by Federal and State Governments to expand EJ communities’ access to clean energy and healthy, affordable housing. This EPA project will help ICAST continue focusing on EJ communities in the future and scale this targeted approach to additional service territories.