US Human Rights Network Blog
FIHRE fellow Kelly Miller secures new EPA Environmental Justice Small Grant opportunity for homeless communitiesApr 19, 2019
US Human Rights Network 2018 FIHRE fellow Kelly Miller, a human rights advocate focused on the issues of homelessness, domestic violence, and political corruption, has successfully lobbied for the inclusion of homelessness in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Environmental Justice Small Grants Program (EJSG). As of January 31, 2019, “homeless populations” are officially included within the Program’s definition of “underserved community,” a direct result of Miller’s lobbying over a 2+ year period.
Miller actively educates the public on homelessness as a violation of human rights. She has given personal testimony before the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights and various United Nations Special Rapporteurs to bring awareness to social justice and human rights.
Miller began lobbying the EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice in 2016 after attending its National Training and Resources Summit on Revitalizing Vulnerable Communities. Miller recognized that the summit programming was not inclusive of homeless communities as vulnerable to climate/environmental issues and, following the summit, she began lobbying and partnering with the EPA in order to include homelessness on its agenda, arguing that homeless communities are consistently confronted with environmental/climate issues as a consequence of living unsheltered.
Due to ongoing local and federal lawsuits against the Commonwealth of Kentucky and other entities, Miller has personally experienced homelessness since 2012 in Kentucky and Washington D.C.. Persistent in her fight for justice despite dire personal consequences, following years of litigation and civil actions against corrupt government bodies, Miller was recognized by the National Whistleblower Center as a whistleblower of law enforcement and government corruption in July 2018.
The USHRN is proud to share in Miller’s victory, which means that government-approved organizations are now able to apply for funding from the EJSG on the issue of homelessness. Miller now works with the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty as Development and Communications Volunteer.
Excerpt from the EPA press release titled “EPA Announces Availability of $1.5 Million in Environmental Justice Small Grants”:
“‘EPA is committed to assisting low-income and disadvantaged communities that are often disproportionally impacted by environmental risks or hazards,’ said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. ‘These grants will help local communities across the country address critical environmental challenges, such as reducing air pollution, combatting lead exposure, and improving water quality.’
Given projected increases in extreme weather events and the vulnerability of underserved populations, this opportunity will emphasize projects that address emergency preparedness and increase resiliency, as well as projects that include the needs of US military veterans and homeless populations.”
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