HUD Offers Grants to Clean Up Lead and Other Housing-Related Health Hazards
HUD recently announced that it’s making more than $100 million in grants available to help protect children from housing-related lead poisoning, asthma, and allergies. “Since 1973, HUD has been leading the charge in lead hazard identification and abatement throughout the housing industry. We know that there’s no more important mission than to protect our children and give them the greatest opportunity in their lives. These important grants will help keep thousands of children safe and healthy, free of debilitating lead poisoning,” said HUD Secretary Julian Castro.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that children in at least 4 million U.S. households are being exposed to high levels of lead. Approximately 500,000 children ages 1 through 5 have blood levels above 5 micrograms per deciliter, the level at which the CDC recommends public health actions be started. According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common causes of lead poisoning in children are lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust in older buildings. Other sources of lead poisoning include contaminated air, soil, and water.
The greatest risk from lead poisoning, according to the Mayo Clinic, is to brain development, which may result in permanent damage. Higher levels of lead poisoning also may cause damage to the kidneys and nervous system.
The housing improvements that communities make using these grants is intended to help prevent illnesses and injuries, reduce associated health care and social services costs, reduce absentee rates for children in school and adults at work, and reduce stress, all of which help to improve the quality of life.
The grants are being administered through HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control, which promotes efforts to eliminate dangerous levels of lead-based paint and remedy other health and safety issues in lower income homes.
HUD’s Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control Program will have grants available totaling $43 million; $45 million will be offered through HUD’s Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration Program. Within these grant programs, HUD is providing nearly $13 million in Healthy Homes supplemental funds to identify and remediate further housing-related health issues in homes with lead-based paint hazards.