U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $5.6 million in federal funding for Erie County and $2.75 million for Niagara County under the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Program. The senators explained that the funding will allow Erie and Niagara Counties to continue addressing and removing lead-based paint hazards in homes throughout the region, which have been grappling with the threat of destructive lead-based paint for years. Schumer explained that following his relentless advocacy for lead abatement in Western New York, HUD Secretary Ben Carson called him directly Friday afternoon to confirm the funding.
“During my call with Secretary Carson, I made it clear that even forty years after the federal government banned the use of lead paint, children in Western New York still continue to suffer the insidious consequences of toxic lead. I’m pleased to announce that he agreed with me, and committed to sending Erie County $5.6 million and Niagara County $2.75 million to remove lead hazards from communities,” said Senator Schumer. “I’ve long fought tooth and nail for federal funding and programs that work to remove lead in Western New York homes, because lead poisoning is an irreversible, preventable tragedy that robs too many children across the region of their futures. I couldn’t be more thrilled to announce today’s fantastic news, which will be a major boon for public health in Western New York.”
“No New Yorker should have to live in a home poisoned by lead. I’ve been fighting for this funding for years so that our children in Erie and Niagara Counties aren’t forced to live in homes with dangerous lead,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This funding is a critical investment to start remediation and help keep some of our most vulnerable families safe.”
As of 2016, the City of Buffalo alone had nearly 85,000 homes that could be classified as lead hazards, with nearly 12,000 of those homes housing children. In Erie County, 14% of all children tested positive for some level of lead poisoning. Similarly, in Niagara County, 9% of children tested positive.
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.