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CUOMO AWARDS $6.7 MILLION TO REDUCE LEAD-BASED PAINT HAZARDS FOR FAMILIES IN LOW-INCOME HOUSING IN BOSTON, MALDEN AND QUINCY
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today awarded $6.7 million in grants to protect families living in low-income housing in Boston, Malden and Quincy from the health hazards of lead-based paint.
The HUD funds in Boston ($3 million) will be used to conduct lead-based paint hazard control in 180 units occupied by low-income residents in the Dorchester and Roxbury neighborhoods. The grant will be administered by the city's Department of Neighborhood Development to provide low or no interest loans to owner-occupants or owner-investors, as well as testing and abatement; community outreach and education; blood testing of children; and temporary relocation of families as needed. There will be close collaboration with the Enhanced Boston Enterprise Community to encourage the involvement of minority contractors.
The HUD funds in Malden ($1.7 million) will be used by Malden Redevelopment Authority to carry out lead-based paint hazard control and abatement in 125 low-income, privately owned, owner-occupied and rental units built before 1978.. Highest priority will be given to homes in Wards 2, 4, 5 and 7 in which a child has an elevated blood lead level. The grant will be used to make loans and deferred loans to qualified owners. A revolving loan fund will be created which will continue to exist beyond the grant period.
The HUD funds in Quincy ($2 million) will be by The Quincy-Weymouth Consortium has to address lead hazards in 120 homes. Under the leadership of the Quincy Department of Planning and Community Development, there will be three partner agencies: the Quincy Office of Housing Rehabilitation, the Weymouth Department of Planning and Community Development and the Quincy Neighborhood Housing Services. Besides the lead hazard control efforts, the proposed program will provide training and employment opportunities to 25 welfare-to-work recipients, conduct blood screening for 1,200 children, and expand the awareness and understanding of homeowners, tenants, rental property owners and citizens on the hazards of lead paint.
Young children will benefit most from the grants, because the developing nervous systems of children under six are particularly vulnerable to damage from lead. In addition, the normal play activities of children can expose them to lead-based paint hazards, which can include lead-contaminated dust, soil and paint chips.
Exposure to lead can cause permanent damage to the nervous system and widespread health problems. Effects include reduced intelligence and attention span, hearing loss, stunted growth, reading and learning problems, and behavior difficulties.
"Children in Massachusetts and throughout our nation need and deserve our protection from lead poisoning," Cuomo said. "Our goal is to eliminate this terrible -- and totally preventable -- environmental hazard so that more children have the opportunity for healthy lives."
Cuomo announced the aid to Boston, Malden and Quincy in a telephone conference call today with Senators Edward Kennedy and John Kerry, Congressmen Edward Markey and Michael Capuano.
Cuomo is awarding a total of $56.3 million in grants this week to state and local governments, non-profit community groups, public relations firms and research organizations around the country for the following activities:
Lead-based paint was banned from use in private homes in 1978 to protect people from the hazards of lead. However, many older houses and apartments still have lead-based paint.
The Clinton Administration launched The Campaign for a Lead-Safe America -- and its slogan, "Take the Lead Against Lead" -- in 1997 with an initial $50 million in HUD grants.
The effort has brought the following groups together to protect the nation's children from lead poisoning: HUD, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Disease Control, state and local governments, business and industry, and groups involved in environmental issues and public health, along with parents and community groups.
Cuomo announced a new life-saving initiative last year that is using TV commercials, newspaper ads, millions of brochures and a toll-free information line to help parents protect their children from potentially deadly hidden dangers in their homes. The dangers associated with lead-paint poisoning are featured in this "Healthy Homes" initiative.
In addition, HUD and EPA continue to jointly fund a toll-free phone line (1-800-424-LEAD) to give callers information in English and Spanish about lead hazards and disclosure requirements for people selling and renting homes. Information is also available on HUD's internet site at www.hud.gov
Content Archived: January 20, 2009