RELEASE: Congress Must Invest in Building Equitable, Healthy, and Climate Change-Ready Communities in the Wake of COVID-19

Washington, D.C. — Investing in equitable, healthy, and climate change-ready communities is essential to ensure a just economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new issue brief from the Center for American Progress.

As Congress prepares another COVID-19 relief package and a long-term economic stimulus plan, it must target significant new investment in vulnerable communities to help address and lift long-standing and unjust environmental, health, and economic burdens. This includes communities that are economically disadvantaged, tribal communities, and communities of color.

“Congress’ delay in passing a COVID-19 relief, stimulus, and long-term recovery package hurts everyone,” said Cathleen Kelly, a senior fellow at CAP. “As the impacts of climate change and economic inequality only become graver, Congress must move quickly to pass a relief package that includes meaningful and long-overdue investments in disadvantaged communities. Congress must invest in programs that support just and climate-resilient community development.”

The issue brief recommends that Congress make significant new investments in the following community development programs:

  • $2 billion for Community Development Financial Institutions to promote economic recovery and revitalization in disadvantaged communities
  • $30.36 billion for Community Development Block Grants to support construction of affordable housing, programs to create economic opportunities and jobs, services for those in need, and disaster mitigation and recovery
  • $2.25 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfields Program
  • Create a Healthy Communities and Resilient Infrastructure Fund
  • Expand funding for federally qualified health centers
  • Provide $6 billion for the Environmental Justice Small Grants Program
  • Fund anti-displacement strategies

Read the issue brief: “Building Equitable, Healthy, and Climate Change-Ready Communities in the Wake of COVID-19” by Cathleen Kelly and Mikyla Reta.

For more information or to talk to an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at  or 202-478-6327.