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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 99-36
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685Friday
Or contact your local HUD officeFebruary 5, 1999


Comments from Rhode Island Elected Officials on HUD Lead Hazard Grants

PROVIDENCE, RI -- Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today awarded $7 million in grants to protect low-income children and their families in Rhode Island from the health hazards of lead-based paint in their homes.

Cuomo made the announcement at a news conference in Providence, where he was joined by Senator Jack Reed, Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, Congressman Bob Weygand and Mayor Vincent A. Cianci, Jr.

The grants are for:

  • PROVIDENCE -- $4 million -- Providence will use the grant to address lead hazards in 675 units of low-income housing. The City Planning Department's Neighborhood Housing Corporation will lead the grant effort locally. In addition, a minimum of two 8-to-10 week lead worker training sessions will train 40 community members in professional building trades to conduct safe lead hazard cleaning and stabilization activities.

  • STATE OF RHODE ISLAND -- $3 million -- The lead agency, the Rhode Island Housing Authority, has partnered with Greater Elmwood Neighborhood Services, Inc. to address 260 units of privately owned housing for lead hazard control efforts, exterior and soil work.

Nationwide, Cuomo today awarded $56.3 million in lead hazard grants.

Children under age 6 will benefit the most from the grants, because their developing nervous systems are particularly vulnerable to damage from lead. In addition, children's play activities can expose them to lead-based paint hazards such as lead-contaminated dust, soil and paint chips.

"Children in Rhode Island and throughout the nation need and deserve our protection from lead hazards," Cuomo said. "Our goal is to eliminate this terrible -- and totally preventable -- environmental problem so that more children have the opportunity for healthy lives."

The Centers for Disease Control reports that nearly 1 million children ages 1 to 5 around the nation have elevated blood lead levels - amounting to about 5 percent of all children in that age group. The majority of cases involve low-income children.

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.

Lead-based paint was banned from use in all homes in 1978 to protect people from the hazards of lead. However, many older houses and apartments still contain lead-based paint.

Cuomo awarded the $56.3 million in the form of 46 grants to state and local governments, non-profit community groups, research organizations and businesses for the following activities:

  • Lead hazard control programs in privately owned low-income housing -- $50 million
  • Scientific research on lead-based paint -- $ 3.2 million
  • Local lead hazard awareness campaigns -- $ 1.6 million
  • National lead hazard awareness campaign -- $ 1.5 million

The $50 million in grants for lead hazard control will go to state and local governments in 15 states: CALIFORNIA - Alameda County, $1.2 million; Riverside County, $2.6 million; San Francisco, $3 million. CONNECTICUT - New London, $1.1 million. ILLINOIS - Madison County, $3.2 million. KENTUCKY - Jefferson County, $1.1 million. MARYLAND - $1 million. MAINE - $2.8 million. MASSACHUSETTS - Boston, $3 million; Malden, $1.8 million; Quincy, $2 million. NEW YORK - Westchester County, $4 million. NORTH CAROLINA - Durham, $2.4 million. OHIO - Columbus, $1.1 million; Franklin County, $1.6 million. PENNSYLVANIA - Harrisburg, $1.2 million. RHODE ISLAND - $3 million; Providence, $4 million. TEXAS - San Antonio, $4 million. VERMONT - $3 million. WISCONSIN - Milwaukee, $3 million.

Additional grants for local lead hazard awareness campaigns will go to: CALIFORNIA - Esperanza Community Housing Corporation, Los Angeles, $100,000; Consumer Action, San Francisco, $60,000. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA - La Clinica del Pueblo, $100,00. ILLINOIS - Children's Memorial Hospital, Chicago, $168,091. MARYLAND - Baltimore, $200,000. MISSOURI - Kansas City, $190,257. MONTANA - Lewis and Clark County Health Department, Helena, $91,702. NEW JERSEY -- $170,591. NEW YORK - West Harlem Environmental Action, New York City, $200,000. PENNSYLVANIA - Philadelphia, $200,000. WISCONSIN - Kenosha County, $26,197. VERMONT -- $108,579.

Grants for the national lead hazard awareness campaign will go to these companies: DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA -- Consumer Research Council, $100,000. ILLINOIS -- National Safety Council in Itasca, $100,000. NEW YORK - All in New York City: Children's Television Workshop, $68,408. Henry J. Kaufman & Associates, $100,000. Vanguard Communications, $999,958. PENNSYLVANIA-- Monsoon Microstudios, Inc. in Philadelphia, $100,000.

Grants for Lead Hazard Control Research will go to: CALIFORNIA - University of California, Santa Cruz: $138,388. MARYLAND - Kennedy Krieger Research Institute, Baltimore, $1,174,813. MISSOURI - St. Louis University, St. Louis, $343,000. NEW YORK - Research Foundation of SUNY/Health Science Center, Syracuse, $190,337. NORTH CAROLINA - Research Triangle Institute, Research Triangle Park, $169,020. OHIO - Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, $102,578; University of Cincinnati, $1,085,376.

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 about disclosure requirements for people selling and renting homes. Information is also available on HUD's internet site at www.hud.gov/lea

Here are more details on how the HUD grants awarded today will be used:

LEAD HAZARD CONTROL PROGRAMS - $50 million in grants will go to help private owners of low-income housing built before 1978 to remove lead-based paint hazards, such as lead-contaminated paint, dust and soil. In addition, the funds can be used for blood testing of young children to determine lead levels, inspection and testing of homes for lead hazards, temporary relocation of families during lead control work, community education and outreach, and collection and analysis of data on lead hazards. The hazard control grants build local capacity to ensure that licensed contractors are available to do the work safely. Before the grant program was implemented, only one state had consumer protection licensing laws for inspectors and abatement contractors. Today, 36 states have such laws.

SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH ON LEAD-BASED PAINT - $3.2 million in grants will fund research on ways to reduce the cost of lead hazard detection and control. The assistance will help streamline risk assessment and examine new low-cost lead hazard control methods in inner city rental housing. Previous research efforts have reduced the cost of lead-based paint inspections by one-third. Research has also shown that lead hazard control programs are successful in reducing children's blood lead levels by more than 20 percent.

LEAD HAZARD AWARENESS CAMPAIGNS - $1.6 million for local public education campaigns and $1.5 million for a national campaign involving the private sector. Grants are being awarded to national organizations such as the National Safety Council and the producers of the Sesame Street television show, as well as local non-profit community organizations. The grants will build upon the partnerships HUD has developed with Home Depot, Lowe's and Ace Hardware to inform as many people as possible about the hazards of lead. By alerting parents to the dangers of lead-based paint, the education campaign is designed to help parents avoid exposing their children and themselves to lead.

Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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