Funding part of $131 million awarded nationwide to protect children from dangerous lead and other home health and safety hazards
December 10, 2008 – (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Regional Director Taylor Caswell announced that $3 million in funding has been awarded to the Maine State Housing Authority (MaineHousing) to help protect children and families from dangerous lead-based paint and other home health and safety hazards. The funding, part of $131 million awarded nationwide under HUD’s Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control program, is expected to reduce or eliminate lead exposure in 280 households throughout the State of Maine. Lead is a known toxin that can impair children’s development and may even cause death at high levels.
“More than ever, children need safe and healthy homes,” said Caswell. “HUD is awarding these grants to help protect children from many health and safety hazards and to build on our commitment to ending childhood lead poisoning.”
MaineHousing will use the funding to perform lead hazard control to low-income families with children most vulnerable to lead-based paint hazards. The program will also benefit families of young children through intensive educational and outreach programs. The outreach will help families become more aware of childhood lead poisoning. The funding will be used to complete and clear 280 units, conduct 300 paint inspection/risk assessments, hold 27 training events and conduct nine health education and outreach activities.
MaineHousing has an excellence track record administering HUD funding. Since 1998, MaineHousing has been awarded $11.8 million and has made 790 units lead free.
“Protecting our most vulnerable residents – our children – from the dangers posed by lead-based paint is critically important,” said MaineHousing Director Dale McCormick. “This new grant, which we are matching with over $1.3 million in state funds, will enable us to continue this vital program and make more homes safe for Maine families.”
McCormick noted that Maine, because of its older housing stock (sixth oldest in the country) has a substantial number of homes with lead paint.
To administer this grant, MaineHousing will partner with the Maine Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, Lead Poisoning Prevention Fund, Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Economic and Community Development, the US Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development, and four community action Agencies.
The announcement took place at a two-unit house in which elevated blood levels were found in one of the children occupying a unit. The landlord applied to MaineHousing for funding to complete renovations to eliminate lead-paint hazards in both units. Interior work in both units is completed, but some work on the exterior remains.
HUD and two of its federal agency partners, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, operate the National Lead Information Clearinghouse, where parents, property owners, and other members of the public can get information about lead hazards and their prevention. The Clearinghouse has a toll free number, 800-424-LEAD, and a web site, www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/nlic.htm, both of which provide information in English and Spanish.
HUD’s Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control promotes local efforts to eliminate dangerous lead and other hazards from lower income homes; stimulates private sector investment in lead hazard control; educates the public about the dangers of lead-based paint; and supports scientific research into innovative methods to identify and eliminate health hazards in housing.
Even though lead-based paint was banned for use in the home in 1978, HUD estimates that approximately 24 million homes nationwide still have significant lead-based paint hazards today. Lead-contaminated dust is the primary cause of lead exposure and can lead to a variety of health problems in young children, including reduced IQ, learning disabilities, developmental delays, reduced height, and impaired hearing. At higher levels, lead can damage a child’s kidneys and central nervous system and cause anemia, coma, convulsions and even death.