SCHUMER ANNOUNCES, AFTER MAJOR PUSH IN SYRACUSE, $49 MILLION BOOST FOR ESSENTIAL HUD LEAD-HAZARD REMOVAL EFFORTS; SAYS FUNDING WILL PROTECT THE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING OF UPSTATE CHILDREN FROM INSIDIOUS AND IRREVERSIBLE LEAD POISONING
U.S. Department Of Housing And Urban Development’s Office Of Lead Hazard Control And Healthy Homes Provides Vital Funding To Rid Homes Of Lead Hazards
Following Schumer’s All Out Effort To Secure An Increase In Funding For The Office Of Lead Hazard Control And Healthy Homes, Senator Today Announces A $49 Million Boost For Critical Program In Recently-Passed Bi-Partisan FY 19 Spending Package
Schumer: Funding Boost Will Help Get The Lead Out Of Upstate Communities
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced, following his major push, $304 million in lead-based paint hazard remediation funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) was included in the recently-passed, bipartisan spending package. Specifically, Schumer explained, the spending package appropriated $279 million for HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, which is $49 million more than FY 18, and an additional $25 million for HUD to further assist public housing agencies with lead-based paint interventions. Schumer explained that securing this funding was of the utmost importance to him, as far too many Upstate communities – particularly Syracuse – are plagued by lead poisoning and a high number of homes that still contain lead paint. For example, last November, Schumer visited Syracuse to advocate for a boost in funding for the Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes, following reports that more than 675 Syracuse children were poisoned by lead in 2017.
“Forty years after the federal government banned the use of lead paint, it is clear that our children in Syracuse and Upstate New York still continue to suffer the insidious consequences of toxic lead. Lead poisoning is an irreversible, preventable tragedy that robs too many children across Upstate New York of their future,” said Senator Schumer. “However, this federal funding will work to address this significant public health issue by giving localities and public housing authorities the resources they need to beat back the scourge of lead poisoning at the ground level. I’m proud of the role I played in securing this vital federal funding and will keep fighting with everything I’ve got to remove the ever-present threat of lead from our New York communities.”
Schumer said that lead poisoning constitutes a major threat to public health in the City of Syracuse. According to the Onondaga County Health Department, in 2017, at least 675 children in Syracuse were poisoned by lead paint. Additionally, in 2017, 11% of children who had their blood tested for lead displayed elevated levels of the toxic metal. Schumer explained that this is a particularly pressing issue for Syracuse homes built before 1978, before lead paint was banned, as it was frequently used in homes. Schumer said that with over 90% of Syracuse housing built before 1980 and 50% of rental properties built prior to 1960, residents in those units are at a significantly heightened risk for lead-based paint hazards.
Schumer explained that after years of decreased funding for HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes, which administers the Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Program, he has successfully pushed his colleagues in Congress to increase funding in recent years. The office received $110 million per year from Fiscal Year 2014 to Fiscal Year 2016, which was significantly lower than what the program had received a decade earlier. Schumer was successful in securing a $35 million dollar increase for Fiscal Year 2017 and another $85 million increase in Fiscal Year 2018. After securing the increase in funding for 2018, Schumer worked closely with Syracuse officials to deliver over $4.1 million from HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes last December, the first time the city received funding from the program since 2012. This followed Schumer’s visit to Syracuse to push for the funding and a direct call to HUD Secretary Ben Carson.
The purpose of the Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Program is to identify and control lead-based paint hazards in eligible privately owned housing for rental or owner-occupants. These grants are used to assist municipalities in carrying out lead hazard control activities.
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