and Sustainability: Using
Atlanta For the Environment (SAFE) is a two year
project funded through the U.S. EPA’s Community Action for Renewed Environment
(CARE) program. ECO-Action, a community-based organization, directs the program
as a community based approach to addressing environmental health hazards in
Neighborhood Planning Unit V (NPU-V).
Demographically, NPU-V has lower SES, higher minority rates, and lower
education attainment levels than
The goals of this project are to:
a. form a sustainable coalition consisting of community members, community based organizations, local businesses, and government agencies;
b. identify and prioritize
environmental health hazards in a heavily blighted community in south
c. disseminate results to
the community and share lessons learned with other communities in
d. develop a strategic plan to address identified environmental health concerns.
The overarching goal of SAFE is to ensure sustainability of efforts by engaging the community and promoting community empowerment. This is accomplished in part by getting community members involved in the coalition, recruiting 30 community members to complete the Leadership Training Institute, and performing extensive community outreach.
Engaging the community in the entire process helps to ensure a commitment to the outcomes, and developing leadership skills among community members gives them the necessary tools to sustain efforts after the grant period has ended. Because this grant only covers the planning phases, sustainability is vitally important. The SAFE coalition is committed to the sustainability of this project and therefore will search for diversified funding to implement the strategic environmental risk reduction plan that will begin to alleviate some of the environmental health burdens the residents of NPU-V face. This process will also serve as a model for similar communities around Metro-Atlanta.