11.19.18

WITH OVER 675 SYRACUSE CHILDREN POISONED BY LEAD LAST YEAR, SCHUMER LAUNCHES MAJOR PUSH TO IMMEDIATELY PASS $30 MILLION FUNDING INCREASE FOR HUD LEAD HAZARD REMOVAL PROGRAM; URGES FEDS TO APPROVE CITY’S APPLICATION TO RESTART LEAD REMOVAL PROGRAM

In 2017, At Least 675 Syracuse Children Were Poisoned By Lead; 11% Of All Tested Children Displayed Elevated Levels Of Lead; As Syracuse Lacks Funding & Resources To Combat The Crisis, HUD Office Of Lead Hazard Control & Healthy Homes Remains In Critical Need of Increased Funding 

Schumer Today Launches Major Push To Secure Much-Needed $30M Increase For HUD’s Office Of Lead Hazard Control & Healthy Homes In Final, Bipartisan, Must-Pass, December FY 19 THUD Appropriations Bill; Reiterates Support For Syracuse’s Application For Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Program Grant Funding For FY 18 

Schumer To Congress: Syracuse Children Are A Prime Example Of Why It’s A Critical Time For Feds To Be Pumping Funds Into Controlling And Removing Lead From Homes

Standing at Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital, in the wake of reports that over 675 children in Syracuse were poisoned by lead last year, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today launched a major push to include a $30 million increase for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes in the final conference report for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations bill, bringing total funding for the program to $260 million. Schumer explained that the critical Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes provides grant funding to cities and municipalities to remove lead hazards from communities. Additionally, Schumer reiterated his support for the City of Syracuse’s application for grant funding through the Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Program for Fiscal Year 2018, under the Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes to combat the ongoing threat of lead throughout the city. Schumer said that lead poisoning poses a major threat to public health in Syracuse, particularly to children, and called on his colleagues in Congress and HUD to do everything possible to help reduce the danger of lead poisoning.

“Lead poisoning is an irreversible, preventable tragedy that robs many families and children of their future. We must do everything we can to eliminate the scourge of lead from our homes, including passing critical funding for HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes and ensuring that these funds get distributed to the communities, like Syracuse, that need them most,” said Senator Schumer. “That’s why today I’m urging my colleagues in Congress to immediately include a $30 million increase for the Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes in this year’s final, bipartisan THUD Appropriations bill, and calling on HUD to approve Syracuse’s application for lead hazard removal grant funding right away. We need to act fast, and we need to act now, to remove lead-based threats from our communities before any more children are put in harm’s way.”

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 said that the Senate’s FY19 THUD Appropriations bill, after his push, included $260 million for the Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes, an increase of $30 million over FY18’s funding total. However, Schumer explained, the House of Representative’s THUD Appropriations bill only included $230 million for the critical office, leaving funding flat. Therefore, Schumer urged his colleagues in Congress to include the much-needed $30 million increase for the Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes in the final conference report for the FY19 THUD Appropriations bill.

Schumer explained that after years of decreased funding for HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes, he has pushed his colleagues in Congress to increase funding in recent years, but that more resources were needed to completely eradicate lead from homes in Syracuse and across New York. 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, bringing total funding to $230 million this year. However, Schumer said that the cost of removing lead from homes is extremely expensive and cities like Syracuse lack resources and funding to fully combat the crisis. In addition, HUD estimates that every $1 spent on lead hazard control has a return on investment of up to $221 in reduced health care costs, increased school attendance, increased employment and lifetime earnings. Therefore, Schumer is urging his colleagues in Congress to include the extra $30 million for Fiscal Year 2019 so Syracuse and other municipalities have access to it.

Schumer added, “Forty years after the federal government banned the use of lead paint, it is clear from the county’s report that our children here in Syracuse and across the country continue to suffer the consequences. It’s evident that the federal government must do more. A $30 million increase for next year, on top of the increases I helped secure the previous two years, will allow our communities to access more resources on the ground to fight the threat of lead poisoning.”

Additionally, Schumer reiterated his support for the City of Syracuse’s application for Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Program grant funding with the Healthy Homes Supplement for Fiscal Year 2018. Schumer explained that such funding would enable the City of Syracuse to restart its lead abatement program and target units at risk from lead poisoning where the County Health Department has identified children with elevated blood lead levels. Schumer added that the $85 million increase he helped secure for Fiscal Year 2018 improves chances of winning the grant and is asking HUD to direct some of that funding to Syracuse.

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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