In an effort to protect children and families from the hazards of lead-based paint and other health hazards and safety hazards, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has awarded more than $48 million in Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration grants to 14 local and state government agencies.
In Baltimore, Md., HUD Secretary Julián Castro announced the funding during a news conference with Mayor Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. The City of Baltimore is one of the grantees. With HUD celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, Castro said part of HUD’s mission is to advance opportunities for all Americans, including helping children and families secure quality housing by protecting them from the hazards of lead-based paint and other home health and safety hazards.
The grant funding announced will reduce the number of lead-poisoned children and protect families by targeting health hazards in nearly 3,200 low-income homes with significant lead and/or other home health and safety hazards. The Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration grant program has a demonstrated history of success, filling critical needs in urban communities where no other resources exist to address substandard housing built before 1940 that threatens the health of the most vulnerable residents.
“Every family deserves to live in a safe and healthy home where they can see their children thrive and excel,” said Castro. “Communities will use these grants to help eliminate home-related hazards in neighborhoods across the country. A healthy home is vital to the American Dream.”
Director of HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes, Matthew E. Ammon, said, “Millions of families and children are seeing their hope for the future threatened by poor health simply because of where they live. Every child deserves to grow up in a healthy home and yet far too many continue to be exposed to potentially dangerous lead and other health hazards in the home.”
Unsafe and unhealthy homes affect the health of millions of people of all income levels, geographic areas, and walks of life in the U.S. These unsafe and unhealthy homes affect the economy directly, through increased utilization of healthcare services, and indirectly through lost wages and increased school days missed. Housing improvements help prevent injuries and illnesses, reduce associated healtcare and social services costs, reduce absentee rates for children in school and adults at work, and reduce stress, all which help to improve the quality of life.
HUD's Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes promotes local efforts to eliminate dangerous lead paint and other housing-related health hazards from lower income homes; stimulate private sector investment in lead hazard control; support cutting-edge research on methods for assessing and controlling housing-related health and safety hazards; and educate the public about the dangers of hazards in the home.
The funding directs critical funds to cities, counties and states to eliminate dangerous lead paint and other housing-related health hazards in thousands of privately-owned, low-income housing units. HUD is also providing the Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration program grantees over $3.5 million in Healthy Homes supplemental funding to help communities mitigate multiple health hazards in high risk housing simultaneously, in conjunction with their lead hazard control activities.