November 17, 2004
FUNDING WILL BE USED TO REDUCE LEAD HAZARDS IN HOMES
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois Department of Public Health’s Get the Lead Out Program has been awarded $4 million in federal funds to help reduce lead-based health hazards in Illinois communities.
“This is a great opportunity to continue our efforts to provide safe housing for low-income families with at-risk children,” said Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director. “Hundreds of children will live in healthier homes because of this money.”
The money will be used to reduce or remove lead-based paint hazards in an estimated 400 priority, low-income housing units in six target areas of Illinois with cooperation from other local agency resources. Property owners must be at or below 80 percent of the local median income adjusted for family size in each target area.
The six target areas are:
In Illinois, approximately 25,000 children per year are identified with elevated blood lead levels. The number of screened children found to have elevated blood lead levels is higher in these target areas than in the rest of the state outside Chicago.
The major source of lead exposure among American children is lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust found in deteriorating buildings. Though residential lead-based paints were banned in 1978, 24 million housing units in the United States contain deteriorating lead paint and lead contaminated dust.
Lead poisoning can affect nearly every system in the body, and cause learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and in extreme instances, seizure, coma and even death. Lead poisoning can affect children from all socioeconomic levels, but those living at or below the poverty line – who frequently live in older homes – are at greater risk.
The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which awarded nearly $145 million in grants to states to eliminate dangerous lead paint hazards in thousands of privately-owned, low-income units. The Department received the maximum amount available under the competitive grant program. The money will be matched by $662,424 in local funds and in-kind services.
Since 1994, the Department has received nearly $14 million in funding from HUD to reduce lead-based paint hazards in approximately 1,270 homes in Illinois.
Local health departments, community action agencies and community development agencies will solicit applicants for the program utilizing prospective weatherization clients and families with children with elevated blood levels. Where possible, the agencies will attempt to leverage funding from other sources to conduct other related rehabilitation work such as weatherization.
When an applicant qualifies for the program, the local health department will conduct a lead-based paint risk assessment to identify lead-based paint hazards, and the health department will review the work order to assure that all lead-based paint hazards identified will be addressed. The community action agency will put the job out for bid and a licensed abatement contractor will conduct the hazard work.
If necessary, the family will be relocated by the community action agency. When work is complete, the risk assessor from the local health department will conduct the clearance testing and Department staff will conduct a final inspection to assure that the work and the paperwork are conducted properly.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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