February 14, 2003
HUD ANNOUNCES $50,000 FOR CHILDREN'S HEALTH CLINIC IN WASHINGTON
Grand opening of community-based clinic scheduled for tomorrow
WASHINGTON - The Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced that a new children's health clinic operated by Catholic University's School of Nursing will receive $50,000 in free rent because of a settlement agreement HUD brokered with a District landlord. The D.C.-based real estate management company, agreed to help establish the clinic after the Department found it failed to warn its tenants that their homes might contain lead-based paint hazards.
The company agreed to provide free rent to the community-based clinic at the Pentacle Apartments located at 1515 Benning Road in Northeast Washington. Starting tomorrow, Catholic University's Child and Family Community Behavioral Health Center will provide a cheery welcome as well as blood lead screenings for children and other pediatric diagnostic and educational services to families in the City's Wards five and six. As part of an earlier settlement agreement with HUD, the property manager also agreed to pay the government $50,000 and to test and abate lead-based paint in its rental properties - a cost estimated at $500,000.
"This clinic is a testament to HUD's commitment to protecting children from the dangers of lead-poisoning," said David Jacobs, director of HUD's Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control. "It should also send a clear message to landlords and sellers of older homes that they have a legal responsibility to inform tenants and homebuyers that their housing may contain lead paint hazards. Every child deserves a healthy home."
Under the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992, sellers and landlords must disclose the presence of known lead-based paint and known lead-based paint hazards in their housing and make available any related reports to potential buyers or tenants. Buyers have several days before ratification of a contract to conduct a lead-based paint inspection or risk assessment. The law covers most housing built before 1978, when lead-based paint was banned for residential use.HUD actively enforces HUD's lead-based paint regulations and negotiates settlements against landlords and home sellers. Cumulatively, these settlements have resulted in commitments to test for and clean up lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards in a total of 159,757 units at an estimated cost of nearly $22 million. In addition, these settlements have resulted in $478,350 in penalties and $418,750 to fund child health improvement projects.
To report a disclosure rule violation to HUD, please call 1-800-424-LEAD.
Background on Health Effects of Lead-Based Paint
Elevated blood-lead levels in young children can cause learning disabilities, reduced IQ, developmental delays, slowed growth, hearing problems, damage to the brain and nervous system, and in rare cases, even death. Lead poisoning is also harmful to adults, especially pregnant women.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the percentage of children with elevated blood lead levels has been cut in half since the early 1990's, although the prevalence of childhood lead poisoning in low-income older housing remains high. In fact, one in six low-income children living in older housing is believed to be lead poisoned. HUD estimates that the number of houses with lead paint has declined from 64 million in 1990 to 38 million in 2000. Pregnant women poisoned by lead can transfer lead to a developing fetus, resulting in adverse developmental effects.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities, creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans, supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet.