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December 07. 2012 12:49AM

Grant aims to keep bugs out of city apartments

MANCHESTER - Some 25 low-income households will participate in workshops about a holistic approach to fighting cockroaches and bedbugs as part of a $25,000 federal grant that has been awarded to a local social-service agency, the Environmental Protection Agency said.

The Way Home, a Manchester organization that promotes proper housing in Manchester, plans to run workshops that involve landlords and their maintenance team, tenants and a pest management company.

The technique mirrors a program developed by Boston Public Housing.

Rick Castillo, housing counselor for the Way Home, said tenants will be taught proper techniques for discouraging pest infestation. That includes proper post-meal cleanup and food storage, and avoiding clutter. Landlords will learn about pest behavior and the proper times and places to spray.

"When everybody understands their role and fully participates, they have a much better chance of success," Castillo said.

He said the grant will be used to pay for staff time to produce the workshops, foreign-language interpreters and some supplies such as plastic storage bags.

The Way Home has been lining up landlords to apply for the program, and it expects to announce participants later this month. Castillo said there has been no difficulty finding landlords. The program does not pay for any spraying, which participating landlords will be responsible for.

Workshops will be held in January and February; he expects to have two workshops per building.

The money is provided through the EPA Environmental Justice Small Grant Award, which encourages education and collaboration to tackle environmental problems on the local level.

The Manchester grant was the only one awarded in New Hampshire.

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Mark Hayward may be reached at mhayward@unionleader.com.


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