HUD Archives: News Releases

Rhonda Siciliano
(617) 994-8218
For Release
March 4, 2010

Funding helps to make low-income housing safer and healthier

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently awarded more than $2.4 million in grants to the Boston Public Health Commission and the City of Somerville to make homes healthier and protect young children
from lead poisoning. The Boston Public Health Commission received an $874,563 Healthy Homes Demonstration grant, and a $799,503 Healthy Homes Technical Studies grant. The City of Somerville was awarded a $749,893 Healthy Homes Technical Studies grant.

The funding is part of more than $13 million awarded nationwide in grants to 25 local projects to conduct a wide
range of activities that include eliminating lead and housing-related hazards in thousands of homes; training workers
in lead and healthy homes interventions; supporting research to improve home safety efforts; increasing public awareness, and evaluating outreach on controlling housing-based hazards.

Lead is a known toxin that can impair children's development and have effects lasting into adulthood. In the case
of asthma alone, incidences linked directly to housing-related hazards cost the U.S. economy approximately $3.5 billion each year.

"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," said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. "These grants will not only help to clean up lead and other home health hazards but will support innovative new approaches to make all our homes healthier places to live."

"To grow up healthy, children need to live in healthy homes," said HUD Deputy Secretary Ron Sims. "Housing is both
a critical sector of our economy as well as a key source of wealth, security and stability for America's families."

In the past year HUD has awarded over $232 million in Lead and Healthy Homes grants, including $100 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act; $116 million in Lead Hazard Control and Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration grants; and $13 million in this announcement for Healthy Homes, Tech Studies and Green Initiatives.

Through the four programs, HUD's Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control promotes local efforts to
eliminate dangerous lead and other key housing-related hazards from lower income homes; stimulates private sector investment in lead hazard control; and educates the public about the dangers of lead-based paint as well as other housing related health hazards.

Even though lead-based paint was banned for use in the home in 1978, HUD estimates that approximately 24 million homes 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. However, lead is not the only danger threatening families and children in the home. Asthma is now recognized as the leading cause of school and work absences, emergency room visits, and hospitalizations.

The funding includes more than $13 million to cities, counties, tribes, universities and non-profit agencies to
eliminate dangerous lead and healthy homes hazards in thousands of privately owned, low-income housing units. These funds are provided through HUD's Lead Hazard Control Capacity Building, Healthy Homes Demonstration,
Healthy Homes Technical Studies and Green and Healthy Homes Technical Studies grant programs. Seven of the awardees are first-time grantees, receiving approximately $618,000 in an initiative to expand the reach of HUD's
Lead Hazard Control programs and build capacity within the areas to eliminate lead and other home hazards.

HUD is providing an additional $6.1 million to help communities address and eliminate healthy homes hazards. For
the first time, HUD will also award $2.4 million in Green and Healthy Homes Technical Studies cooperative
agreements to improve knowledge of the effects green residential construction has on indoor environmental quality and occupant health, with a particular focus on children and other sensitive populations in low income households. Finally, HUD will award over $4 million in Healthy Homes Technical Studies cooperative agreements to improve
methods to protect children and other sensitive populations from residential hazards.


HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to sustaining homeownership; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development ad enforces the nation's
fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at and


Content Archived: July 24, 2012