The Department of Housing and Urban Development wants to help clean up health hazards such as lead-based paint in low-income housing, and is allocating $330 million in grants to facilitate such projects. The grants will be made available via the HUD’s Lead Hazard Reduction and Healthy Homes Production for Tribal Housing programs, it said.
“Your home is a haven from the outside world,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said, announcing the new grants. “You shouldn’t be worried about the hidden dangers that could affect you and your family. Housing conditions directly affect the health of its residents. Grants like these will help communities around the nation protect themselves from the danger of lead exposure and other health and safety hazards.”
The government banned lead paint from being used in residential homes in 1978, but officials say around 24 million homes built prior to that year still contain significant lead-paint hazards. They say that lead-contaminated dust in such homes is responsible for numerous health problems, especially in younger children. These include learning disabilities, impaired hearing, kidney damage and problems with the central nervous system.
The HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes plans to completely eliminate the threat of lead hazards from its low-income housing. It also wants to encourage more private sector investment in lead hazard control, and seeks to better educate the public about the dangers of lead paint.
In order to work out how to allocate the new grants, the HUD has added a new category of cities and counties that have “high-impact neighborhoods” where there is an elevated concentration of pre-1940s housing, low-income families, and high rates of young children with elevated blood lead levels.
The HUD said it will award up to $5 million to each high-impact neighborhood in order to help control lead paint-based hazards.