VCCA is honored to be part of a coalition given a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for a project entitled "Building Heat Resilience in Southwestern Virginia through Education." The project team, led by Carilion Clinic in partnership with Virginia Tech, and the City of Roanoke, will strengthen climate resilience in Southwest Virginia by building a cross-sector urban heat resilience environmental literacy network.
Learn more about this work by visiting our website at www.heatreadyroanoke.org and reading below.
HEAT READY, ROANOKE! 2022–2024
In 2020, the City of Roanoke Office of Sustainability worked with citizen scientists to develop detailed maps depicting the areas of the city with the highest air temperatures. Areas with high levels of social vulnerability, including those with low-income households, seniors, and communities of color, were on average 7–10 degrees warmer than other areas of the city, and they also score poorly on the Tree Equity Score. With funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) over two years, the Heat Ready, Roanoke! project will bring together urban planners, local government, healthcare professionals, and residents to (1) understand the problem of extreme heat, (2) work to connect existing resources, and (3) co-produce approaches to increase community resilience to extreme heat using the strategies outlined below.
Heat Mitigation Strategies | Led by Virginia Tech and Roanoke City Public Schools
The STEM+ Urban Planning Heat Resilience curriculum for middle school students, paired with a science and urban planning family summit, will help students and families identify heat-related problems and brainstorm how to protect health and improve their built environment.
Heat Management Strategies | Led by Carilion Clinic and VCCA
Clinicians and community health staff will receive training on climate change’s impacts on health with a focus on heat illness; will partner with community organizations, including the Healthy Homes Initiative, to connect clients with resources like free air-conditioning units and utility payment assistance to improve their health and living environment; and will host a health and climate conference.
Heat Resilience Strategies | Led by City of Roanoke, VCCA, and Carilion Clinic
Trained healthcare providers, the City of Roanoke, and community leaders and organizations will host a heat resilience fair to increase awareness about heat-related mental and physical health risks and available resources in the city. Results and evaluation of the grant work will help influence future city plans, including mitigation and adaptation strategies and policy development that address heat effects.