Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

Request for Letters of Interest: Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities

Posted: 10/14/2019 (Conference)

Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities 2019 Request for Letters of Interest

Letter of interest must be submitted in an attachment (Microsoft Word or PDF file) by email to Abby Hall ( ) no later than November 8, 2019, at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Overview: Cities, regions, and states across the United States are facing natural disasters that can have devastating effects on life, property, the economy, and ecosystems. As more and more communities face the effects of natural disasters, decision makers and community members need tools and guidance to help them take action that can both protect them from natural disasters while also revitalizing economies, creating jobs, protecting clean air and water, and improving quality of life.

The Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program provides quick, targeted technical assistance to selected communities using a variety of tools that have demonstrated results and widespread application. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) delivers the assistance using teams of experts who conduct workshops in the selected communities. This round of Building Blocks will focus on helping regions that need assistance to build large-scale resilience to natural disasters and is intended to help them align resilience priorities across different federal, state, and local planning requirements and funding sources.

EPA is offering assistance to regional partnerships based on the new EPA and FEMA Regional Resilience Toolkit. Regional partners are considered multiple jurisdictions that are working together, as well as entities that operate at a large geographic scale, such as county or tribal governments, regional planning organizations, watershed coalitions, councils of governments, or other partnerships that work at the multi-state, multi-county, or multi-city/town scale. This assistance is not intended for a single community.

Key Information:

  • Eligibility: The applicant can include multiple jurisdictions that are working together, as well regional organizations that operate at a multi-state, multi-county, or multi-city/town scale. The letter of interest can come from state, tribal, regional, and local governments, as well as nonprofit organizations that have a demonstrated partnership with a governmental entity.
  • Deadline: 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on November 8, 2019.
  • How to apply: Submit a two-page letter of interest.
  • Timeframe: EPA expects to select three (3) recipients by the end of November and intends to provide all technical assistance by Fall 2020.

How to apply:

Submit a letter of interest—no longer than two (2) pages—that contains the following information. (Please do not submit maps, letters of support, or other supplemental information.)

  • Regional geography and partnership. Define the geographic bounds of your regional partnership. Please describe who your key partners are and the history of the partnership, if any. Describe how you will work across departments, scales of government, and with other organizations in your region. If there is a clear lead for your partnership, please explain how this leadership role came about.
  • Description of the disaster risk. Applicants need to articulate the disaster risks facing the region and likely actions needed to address those risks. Disaster types might include hurricanes, earthquakes, sea level rise, wildfire, drought, extreme heat, tornadoes, volcanoes, winter storms, and flooding. Please include information about how this assistance would align with and support related efforts, including recovery from a recent natural disaster, planned updates to a local or multi-jurisdiction hazard mitigation plan, or other pre-disaster mitigation efforts, such as planing for strategic retreat.
  • Support from elected officials and the public. Applicants need to identify persons and/or organizations that support the project and will work toward its implementation. Please include a list of references for each of the following (formal letters of support are not necessary):
    • Elected Officials Support: can include mayors, city council members, and representatives from other decision-making bodies with appropriate local, regional, or state governments.
    • Public or Community Support: can include neighborhood coalitions, community development groups, local business organizations, and community-based organizations from underrepresented communities.
  • Describe your plan for engaging traditionally underrepresented communities, including low-income, minority, tribal, and/or overburdened communities, in the technical assistance workshop. What are the key challenges facing overburdened communities and residents in hazardous areas?
  • Describe the region’s expected capacity for implementation, e.g., regional or local policy change, infrastructure or capital improvement projects, new incentives, etc. EPA generally looks to assist communities that are ready for implementation after the Building Blocks workshop is complete.
  • If applicable, describe how this assistance would complement work being done in the region using other federal funding (e.g., EPA brownfields grants or water infrastructure funds, U.S. HUD Community Development Block Grants, FEMA funds (Pre-disaster Mitigation, Flood Mitigation Assistance, or Hazard Mitigation Grant Program dollars), Economic Development Administration funds,  Opportunity Zone designation, etc.
  • Affirm that the community can provide the information or materials listed in the “What the Community Provides” section of the tool description (below).
  • List the primary point of contact including title, address, email, and phone number.

If you have questions about this request for letters of interest, please see our Frequently Asked Questions webpage at If your question is not answered there, please contact Abby Hall at or 202-631-5915.


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Deadline: 11/08/2019