The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is making available $520 million to state and local government agencies to protect children and families from lead-based paint and other home health hazards. This is the largest lead and healthy homes funding ever made available by HUD to jurisdictions to improve the health and safety of housing in communities around the country.
HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge announced the funding at Community Empowerment Association in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she was joined by Vice President Kamala Harris, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan, impacted community members, and elected officials. The administration officials visited the city to discuss the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic investments to remove and replace lead pipes and eliminate lead paint hazards.
“Improving housing quality, addressing the inequities that got us here, and advancing environmental justice are of critical importance to us,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “Our Lead Based Paint Hazard Reduction grant program is a crucial part of protecting our children and building the infrastructure for making homes healthy and safe, even after the grants have ended.”
This grant opportunity, which coincides with National Healthy Homes Month, is under HUD’s Lead Based Paint Hazard Reduction grant program. The program identifies and cleans up dangerous lead hazards and additional health and safety hazards in low-income families’ privately-owned homes. This grant funding includes $30 million of HUD’s Healthy Homes Supplements to help communities with other health and safety hazards in homes where lead-based paint hazards are being treated.
These investments will protect families and children by targeting significant lead and health hazards in over 40,000 low-income homes for which other resources are not available. These grants will prevent the developmental and other effects of lead on children, reduce injuries by children and adults, lower health care costs, increase school and work attendance and performance; and increase income and opportunity of the families whose homes state and local grantees will treat.
These grants will improve the healthfulness of the treated homes, which is part of HUD’s efforts to improve the health of people across this country. Improving these homes not only improves the lives of residents but improves the neighborhoods and communities they call home.
The purpose of the grant program announced is to maximize the number of children under the age of six protected from lead poisoning by assisting states, cities, counties/parishes, Native American Tribes, or other units of local government in undertaking comprehensive programs to identify and control lead-based paint hazards in eligible privately-owned rental or owner-occupied housing populations.
Through efforts by the federal, state, tribal, and local governments, partnering with nonprofits and supportive firms in the housing and environmental sectors, the average blood lead level in children under age six – who are most affected by lead exposure – has decreased by half in the past decade. Even so, almost half of the housing built when lead paint could be used in homes – that is, before 1978 – have hazardous conditions of lead. Much needs to be done to reduce these hazards.
The grants being made available will contribute to about 75 communities’ efforts to address the problem by mitigating unhealthy housing, preserving affordable housing, and improving the health and wellness of families and children living in these communities.
Lead is a highly toxic metal that may cause a range of health problems, especially in young children. When lead is absorbed into the body, it can cause damage to the brain and other vital organs, like the kidneys, nerves, and blood. Lead may also cause behavioral problems, learning disabilities, seizures, and in extreme cases, death. Some symptoms of lead poisoning may include headaches, stomachaches, nausea, tiredness, and irritability. Children who are lead poisoned may show no symptoms.
Eligible applicants can apply for the funds through Grants.gov.