|HUD No. 00-252|
|Further Information:||For Release|
|In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685||Sunday|
|Or contact your local HUD office||September 24, 2000|
$5.5 MILLION IN HUD GRANTS WILL PROTECT CALIFORNIA CHILDREN, FAMILIES FROM DANGERS OF LEAD AND OTHER HOME HAZARDS
LOS ANGELES – U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced a total of $5.5 million dollars in grants to protect families from the dangers of lead and other safety and health hazards in their homes.
Cuomo made the announcement at the Bryson Family Apartments where he awarded to the City of Los Angeles a $3 million grant to help protect children and their families by removing lead-based paint from privately owned low-income housing. Cuomo also awarded $1 million through the Healthy Homes initiative to the Esperanza Community Housing Corp., to correct other safety and health hazards in homes. In addition, the Child Abuse Prevention Council of Sacramento was awarded a $1.5 million Healthy Homes Initiative grant.
Cuomo announced the funding during the first day of a three-day swing through 20 California cities. Joining Cuomo in making the award to the city was Congressman Xavier Becerra and Bobken Simonian, the city’s Director of Housing Development.
Specifically, the Los Angeles will refurbish 350 low-income housing units that have high lead levels, and expedite the work in units occupied by children with elevated blood lead levels. The City will also train 130 lead inspectors/assessors, contractors and workers in lead control.
"Too many children are being robbed of their futures by exposure to lead," Cuomo said. "I pledge that HUD will do everything it can to prevent children and families from suffering the sad consequences of this insidious, yet preventable disease."
Nearly one million U.S. children younger than six years old have elevated blood lead levels considered unhealthy by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Young children, often exposed to lead from contaminated dust, soil and paint chips, face the greatest risk because their developing nervous systems are particularly vulnerable.
Lead poisoning has been linked to reduced intelligence and attention span, hearing loss, stunted growth, reading and learning problems and behavior difficulties. Children with elevated blood lead levels are seven times more likely to drop out of school and twice as likely to have problems in developing language skills. Children from low-income families are five times more likely to suffer from lead poisoning. Minority children are disproportionately affected.
Cuomo said that these grants are used by communities for many purposes, including testing children’s blood to determine lead levels; inspecting and testing homes for lead hazards; temporarily relocating families during lead control work; providing community education and outreach; providing job training for lead hazard control workers; and collecting and analyzing data on lead hazards.
Congressman Xavier Becerra said, "I congratulate Secretary Cuomo and HUD for taking yet another step towards building stronger communities. Los Angeles families can now breath a little easier knowing their children will grow up in safe and lead free homes."
Though banned from use in all homes in 1978, lead-based paint can still be found in many older homes and apartments.
On September 15, a new HUD lead paint regulation took effect that will protect an estimated 1.4 million children living in federally owned or assisted housing. To help states and cities comply with the new regulation, HUD committed nearly $105 million to train workers in lead safety and pay for testing required by the rule.
The Environmental Protection Agency and the CDC jointly fund a toll-free Hotline – 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.
More information on lead is also available on the HUD website at www.hud.gov.
A HUD Healthy Homes grant was awarded to the Los Angeles-based Esperanza Community Housing Corp., which received about $1 million to increase detection and reduce incidents of lead poisoning and other ailments, and increase collaboration between public and private agencies. The group will target 1,700 area homes and collect family health and housing data and conduct blood lead testing of 900 target area children under the age of 6.
Also awarded under the Healthy Homes Initiative was $1.5 million to the Child Abuse Prevention Council of Sacramento (CAPCSAC). The group, along with the American Lung Association of Sacramento-Emigrant trials, University of California-Davis Medical Center, Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services and Sacramento County Office of Education, will implement the California Alliance for Prevention Healthy Homes Initiative to integrate education and outreach on prevention and control of lead poisoning and asthma. AmeriCorps members recruited from the community will make home visits to over 4,400 families with children below the age of 5 and provide Healthy Homes information through family resource centers.
Cuomo will deliver the keynote address in Los Angeles on Monday at Creating Partnerships for Renewed Hope, a HUD-sponsored conference that will bring together community and faith-based organizations, public officials and business leaders. Cuomo’s trip concludes Tuesday in Los Angeles at Closing the Gap: Investing in America’s Communities, an economic development conference that will focus on effective strategies, tools, and resources for creating partnerships that address the needs of America’s distressed communities.