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The Extreme Heat and Community Resilience Program: Building Community and Protecting Californians

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Finding ways to reduce the impact of extreme heat on the environment has become essential in California. Since 1950, extreme heat events have become more common in the state, leading to various adverse effects across communities.

Fortunately, some grants allow businesses to implement effective extreme heat solutions without spending much of their own money. If you’re a California business owner looking to help protect your employees and patrons during periods of extreme heat, you can make the most of these grants to do so.

This guide explores how the Extreme Heat and Community Resilience Program works, how to apply for California grants and how solutions like commercial shade structures can help.

What Is the Extreme Heat and Community Resilience Program?

The Extreme Heat and Community Resilience Program (EHCRP) is an Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program (ICARP) that aims to fund and support local, tribal and regional efforts to minimize the impact of extreme heat in California.

EHCRP Funds and Support

Extreme heat is a public health issue that involves consecutive days wherein temperatures are well above normal weather conditions. These periods are particularly dangerous when nighttime temperatures remain warm, as the lack of temperature change prevents the body from recovering after a hot day. Especially vulnerable members of communities, such as older people, children and those with particular health conditions or less access to shade, may be significantly impacted by this weather.

Given the state’s current initiatives to address climate change and the urban heat island effect, this program aims to fuel those efforts and improve conditions for residents across the state.

Navigating the Grants Available in California

Two main types of grant programs support extreme heat relief in the EHCRP program — planning grants and implementation grants. These are further split into smaller and larger grants:

  • Small Planning Grants: This type of grant aims to help organizations, tribes and communities who are beginners in extreme heat-related initiatives. This grant provides between $100,000 and $250,000 to fund your plan for building long-term resilience to extreme heat, assessing heat vulnerability and identifying local risks and costs.
  • Large Planning Grants: These grants are beneficial for comprehensive heat response plans. A Large Planning Grant may fund between $300,000 and $750,000.
  • Small Implementation Grants: Small Implementation Grants advance your planning projects and fund between $100,000 and $450,000 to help your company initiate single-site infrastructure.
  • Large Implementation Grants: Providing between $500,000 and $5 million, Large Implementation Grants fund more comprehensive projects with various infrastructure solutions to execute.

Businesses Eligible for the Extreme Heat and Community Resilience Program

Businesses Eligible for EHCRP

There are specific types of businesses and entities that are eligible to apply for this extreme heat grant:

  • Public entities: These include a variety of entities like public authorities, public corporations, public agencies, school districts and institutions of higher education. It specifically excludes state and federal agencies unless they are simply aiding eligible applicants.
  • Community-based organizations (CBOs): This includes CBOs like non-governmental organizations, non-profit organizations, foundations, faith-based organizations, philanthropic organizations and other organizations representing vulnerable communities. If your project is sponsored by one of these CBOs, you may be an eligible applicant.
  • Academic institutions: All individual public institutions of higher education are eligible. While the California State University and the University of California systems as a whole may be unable to apply, individual universities within these systems may be eligible.
  • Non-profit organizations: While certain for-profit entities may be unable to apply, non-profit organizations may apply if they are representing a coalition or association of non-profit organizations. This applicant may provide documentation establishing the association or coalition, a memorandum of understanding, a membership list, an operating agreement, and a signed delegation of authority documentation.
  • California Native American tribes: Native American tribes stated in the contact list of the Native American Heritage Commission may also be eligible to apply.

How to Apply for California Grants for Extreme Heat Resilience

The EHCRP application process is divided into two main phases:

  • Pre-screening survey: The pre-screening survey requires your business to state why it is applying and give an overview of the proposed project, estimated budget and contact information. Your business may also list relevant co-applicants.
  • Full application: Your company will receive the full application after completing a request for application materials intent survey. The completed application typically consists of materials like a community engagement plan, narrative questions, an application workbook consisting of the business’s summary, budget and work plan, and up to three letters of support.

In addition to these two phases, your company may also provide documentation that proves the application meets the eligibility requirements.

The Importance of Shade Structures in Combating Extreme Heat

If you’re looking for a way to reduce the impact of extreme heat on the environment, implementing a permanent shade structure is a great place to start with your initiative. Many shade structures use materials such as vinyl-coated polyester (PVC) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE), which can block up to 96% of the sun’s UV rays.

Fabric Type for Shade Protection

Shade sails often help reduce heat islands in urban areas. For example, shaded outdoor areas and pavements may be protected from excess heat and remain at air temperature. Beyond their functional benefits, shade structures can also transform the look of your business’s outdoor area and enhance its visual appeal.

Prolonged exposure to extreme heat can lead to premature skin aging, sunburns and skin cancer. Shade structures are an excellent solution to help shield individuals from harmful UV rays, enhancing public health and comfort. Shade structures also help reduce energy consumption. When installed near buildings, a shade structure may prevent direct sunlight from shining through doors and windows, reducing the need for excess air conditioning use and better regulating indoor temperatures.

Invest in Commercial Shade Structures With USA SHADE

Collaboration is essential for getting the most out of your extreme heat initiative and ensuring your company makes life easier for your consumers or clients and minimizes the impacts of extreme heat. Whether you own a commercial business, community organization, industrial facility, non-profit organization or government agency, USA SHADE can provide you with high-quality fabric structure solutions tailored to your needs.

At USA SHADE, we collaborate with expert engineers and architects to construct shade structures that reduce the effects of extreme heat. We work to understand your business’s unique needs, establish the perfect design and use highly specialized software to create a 3D model. We’ll then send it to you for approval and manufacture your approved design with our most effective material.

To get started, visit our builder page to predesign your ideal shade structure. Contact us for a quote today so we can help you combat the effects of extreme heat with shade sails and structures in California.

Invest in Shade with USA Shade