HOUSTON, October 18, 2007 – At least 550 homes in Houston and Harris County will become healthier places to raise children due to $8.1 million in funding announced today by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson. Jackson joined Houston Mayor Bill White to make the announcement at the home of Frank & Esther Ramirez, Houston grandparents whose home was recently cleared of lead-based paint hazards.
The funding is part of nearly $150 million awarded nationwide and a total of $12 million throughout Texas to identify and clean up potentially dangerous lead-based paint hazards in older privately owned low-income housing. Since 1992, HUD has awarded nearly $47 million to eliminate lead-based paint hazards in the state of Texas, resulting in nearly 2,500 homes made lead-safe. (See attached list of Texas grantees).
“This is an investment in our children’s futures,” said Jackson. “As public servants, we have no greater responsibility than to leave our kids a world that is better than what our parents gave us. We can help do that by making sure that the tragedy of lead poisoning will be resigned to history books.”
Mayor White said, “There’s nothing more important that we can do than protect the health and safety of our citizens. This money will go a long way toward doing just that and we thank Secretary Jackson for his help in making this program happen.”
HUD’s grants are provided through the Department’s Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control and Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration grant programs. This funding helps states, Native American Tribes and local governments to undertake comprehensive programs to identify and control lead-based paint hazards in eligible privately owned rental housing. Combined, these programs represent the largest federal effort to clean up potentially dangerous lead in housing.
While lead-based paint was banned for use in the home in 1978, HUD estimates approximately 24 million homes 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.
FY 2007 Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control Grant Awards
The City of Houston will be awarded $3,000,000 in federal funds to control lead hazards in 200 low-income housing units. The Houston Department of Health and Human Services has adopted lead poisoning prevention as a priority for community education and outreach. This Lead Hazard Control Grant will continue the City’s work with community-based organizations to identify and educate target populations about childhood lead poisoning, and control lead hazards in older low-income housing. Contact: Brenda Reyes, Bureau Chief, Houston Department of Health and Human Services, (713) 794-9452.
The City of Houston will be awarded $3,000,000 under the Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration program to perform lead hazard reduction in 200 housing units. The Houston Department of Health and Human Services has adopted lead poisoning prevention as a priority for community education and outreach. This 2007 grant award will be used to continue the City’s work with the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program and community-based organizations to research and educate target populations on childhood lead poisoning and lead hazard treatment. Contact: Mrs. Brenda Reyes, Bureau Chief, Houston Department of Health and Human Services, (713) 794-9452.
Harris County Department of Public Health and Environmental Services will be awarded $2,127,810 under the Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration program to reduce lead-based paint hazards in 150 units located in Harris County, TX. The County has also committed Community Development Block Grant funds as match resources to screen 1,800 children through its outreach efforts. Contact: Mr. Richard Williams, Program Administrator, (713) 439-6142.
The City of San Antonio will be awarded $4,000,000 under the Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration program to produce 224 lead safe units. Potential units will be identified and referred from community partners and various faith-based community groups that will assist in educating the community and providing outreach for the program. Contact: Mr. David Garza, Director, Housing and Neighborhood Services Department, (210) 207-5400.