HUD awards more than $46.5 million in Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration grants to 15 local and state government agencies
WASHINGTON, D.C. – (RealEstateRama) — The devastating effects of lead poisoning are irreversible, and even low levels of lead in a young child’s blood can have long-term effects on their ability to learn and lead a productive life. To prevent these life-long effects and strengthen protections for families living in HUD-assisted housing, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro today announced The Lead-Safe Homes, Lead-Free Kids Toolkit.
HUD has a long history of working to ensure lead-safe housing, which fits into the broader federal response to address lead hazards found in other sources like water, soil, or consumer goods. For more than 20 years, HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes has worked to improve ways to identify and address home-related health and safety hazards, including lead. Since 1993, HUD has awarded more than $1.58 billion in grants to communities for identification and control of lead-based paint hazards in more than 190,000 low-income privately owned housing units. In addition, HUD continues to support research on best practices for identifying and controlling lead-based paint hazards.
Announced today at the HUD-National Environmental Health Association annual conference in San Antonio, Texas, this comprehensive toolkit builds upon HUD’s decades-long commitment to safe, affordable housing. This toolkit provides both immediate actions and a long-term vision to address lead in homes both through immediate changes to HUD programs and legislative proposals that would give HUD needed authority to ensure all HUD housing is lead-safe.
“The health and safety of the families we serve is our first priority,” said Secretary Castro. “Sadly, decades’ worth of lead hazards in homes continues to put families and young children at risk. As a leader in lead-safe housing, we know there’s still more work to be done. We’re proud to introduce this toolkit so we can better ensure children and their families have a safe, healthy place to call home.”
“Too many children are still being exposed to lead through soil and paint in their homes, and I welcome HUD’s efforts to address lead hazards and ensure more children get the testing and support they need. Now, Congress must also step up to ensure that we are investing in comprehensive efforts to combat lead exposure whether in water, homes, or any source,” said U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (Ohio).
“I applaud Secretary Castro and the Department of Housing and Urban Development for taking action to protect kids and families from lead hazards,” Congressman Dan Kildee(Michigan) said. “There is no safe level of lead, especially for children under the age of six, yet lead hazards still exist in many communities across the country. These new federal resources will help to remove lead-based hazards from thousands of homes and educate people about ways they can protect their family.”
Today, HUD will also award more than $46.5 million in Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration grants to 15 local and state government agencies to protect children and families from the hazards of lead-based paint and from other home health and safety hazards. The grant funding will reduce lead-based paint hazards in more than 3,100 low-income homes.
“Lead poisoning poses a very serious health threat, particularly in New England where our housing stock is older than in most other states,” said U.S. Senator Susan Collins (Maine). “I have worked to raise awareness about this dangerous and too often unseen problem since the beginning of my service in the U.S. Senate. As the Chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, I have successfully secured robust funding for lead abatement programs. This $3.4 million grant provided to the Maine State Housing Authority is excellent news and will help ensure that hundreds of Maine families have safe and healthy homes.”
The century-old legacy of lead in house paint continues to present a hazard, particularly for low-income families in privately owned homes. Exposure to lead, including deteriorated paint, dust, and soil presents a risk to millions of Americans living in housing built before 1978, including some HUD-assisted residents. Lead poisoning is associated with learning and behavior problems in children and high blood pressure in adults.
To strengthen protections for families living in HUD-assisted housing, HUD’s toolkit aims to:
- Strengthen regulatory framework and monitoring by proposing revisions to HUD’s Lead Safe Housing Rule, which, when issued, will align the child blood lead level requiring response with the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) recommended level.
- Identify and address known lead hazards through increased monitoring, improved local reporting and guidance by increasing monitoring and enforcement of the Lead Safe Housing Rule and the Lead Disclosure Rule, as well as clarifying HUD guidance about these rules to Public Housing Agencies, owners of HUD-assisted housing, and HUD grantees.
- Work with Administration partners to encourage an interagency focus on addressing lead hazard prevention for both paint and other sources.
- Provide education and targeted outreach to increase awareness of lead by HUD families, housing providers, local governments, and other key stakeholders, and work with health departments to make available blood lead level testing to all children under age six in HUD-assisted homes.
- Conduct research to identify best practices and determine where best to target federal resources by studying the effectiveness of HUD grantees’ use of formula grants to address lead issues.
Other key features of this toolkit include efforts to improve the process to identify and control lead hazards before children are sickened and strengthen monitoring of HUD-assisted housing. The toolkit also builds on HUD’s work by facilitating partnerships among HUD and other federal agencies to develop a consistent standard for and response to water quality issues in HUD-assisted housing.
HUD’s key federal partners share an extensive history of work to prevent lead exposure. For nearly 30 years, the CDC’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program has developed programs and policies to prevent childhood lead poisoning and provided funding to state and local health departments to determine the extent of childhood lead poisoning. Since its inception, CDC has funded nearly 60 childhood lead poisoning prevention programs to develop, implement, and evaluate lead poisoning prevention activities.
This National Healthy Homes Month focuses national attention on ways to keep people of all ages safe and healthy in their homes. To mark this month-long campaign, Secretary Castro, produced a video highlighting the direct link between a household’s health and the conditions within their homes. Watch HUD Secretary Castro’s video message.
Recently, HUD unveiled the Healthy Homes App, which is designed to raise awareness about potentially serious health and safety problems in the home and the steps consumers can take to protect themselves. For more information on National Healthy Homes Month 2016, please visit HUD’s website. HUD’s Healthy Homes App is available via Apple iTunes and Google Play.
HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all.
More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet
at www.hud.gov and http://espanol.hud.gov.