EPA awards enFocus $500,000 environmental justice grant

SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- Thursday, a representative for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officially announced grant money going toward environmental justice and sustainability in South Bend.  

The money is part of an Environmental Justice Community Problem Solving grant program, through the EPA and the Biden Administration.  

The EPA is granting half a million dollars to the entrepreneurial startup company, enFocus.   

EnFocus is hoping to use that grant money to expand the urban tree canopy, the green local workforce, and efforts to make neighborhood homes more sustainable.  

The work will take place in five neighborhoods on South Bend’s west side in an effort to bring more equity to historically underserved communities.  

Specifically, enFocus hopes to plant 4,000 trees in South Bend.  They hope to “upskill,” or job train, 60 individuals in these neighborhoods in the green work force. This could be things like trade certification to do “green” jobs. And finally, they hope to “retrofit” at least 40 homes to be more energy efficient.  

The EPA's Region Five Administrator, Debra Shore, met with enFocus fellows Thursday to discuss the projects this money will help fund. 

“They have a track record of doing innovative work, already engaged in workforce development, and I think their proposal just focused on a kind of circular economy and had some real-world ways to improve the lives and lift up communities where they live and work,” Shore said.  

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