For Immediate Release
October 14, 2009
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Latest HUD Grant Emphasizes Boston's Continued Success of "Lead Safe Boston" Program
Mayor Menino today announced that the City will be awarded over $3M in federal Lead Based Paint Hazard Control funds to reduce the hazards of lead-based paint in homes located in the City's low and moderate income neighborhoods. The award from the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) is the tenth competitive federal funding award that the City's Lead Safe Boston program has received since 1993. The funding, totaling more than $30 million, has enabled Boston to provide lead abatement services to more than 2000 homes citywide.
The City's Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) through its Boston Home Center division will administer these funds as a financial and technical resource for Boston homeowners, while partnering with the Boston Public Health Commission, Inspectional Services department, and the Mass Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.
"Boston continues to lead the way on housing issues, and this latest funding award is a great affirmation of our work," Mayor Menino said. "Despite the challenge of being a city with older housing stock and weather extremes, we continue to make great progress in the reduction of childhood lead poisoning in Boston. This money will allow us to make more homes safe and healthy for Boston families. I want to encourage folks to utilize these important resources, and help us eliminate this preventable disease."
According to a recent report by the Boston Public Health Commission entitled Health of Boston 2009, the percentage of screened children with elevated blood lead levels steadily declined between 1995 and 2008 by as much as 91 percent. In 1995, 13.5 percent of children screened for lead in the blood had elevated lead levels, compared to 2008, when the figure was 1.2 percent, demonstrating Boston's emergence as a national leader in lead prevention programs.
As was outlined in the City's successful application submitted to HUD last July, the funding will enable the Boston Home Center to evaluate 240 homes for lead paint and lead hazards; eliminate lead hazards in 235 homes; assess and mitigate additional housing-related health and safety in 25 homes; conduct outreach and education to reach at least 30,000 people through grass-roots, faith-based and community-based organizations, and provide training to 53 companies in Lead Safe Work Practice.
HUD estimates that approximately 24 million homes across the U.S. still have significant lead-based paint hazards today. Lead-contaminated dust is the primary cause of lead exposure and can lead to a variety of health problems in young children, including reduced IQ, learning disabilities, developmental delays, reduced height, and impaired hearing. At higher levels, lead can damage a child's kidneys and central nervous system and cause anemia, coma, convulsions and even death, according to the federal homeownership development agency.
Lead Safe Boston collaborates with a range of medical, community development, code enforcement, and lead paint advocacy partners with the goal of eliminating childhood lead paint poisoning in Boston. The Boston Home Center, one of four program divisions of DND, provides homebuyers with educational courses and financial assistance, and markets homes developed for income-eligible, first-time homebuyers. The division also assists homeowners with education and foreclosure prevention counseling, and encourages strong, stable neighborhoods by providing residents with financing and technical assistance to maintain and improve their homes.
Residents who are worried about lead paint in their home should call the Boston Home Center at 617.635.HOME or visit www.bostonhomecenter.com.