U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $2,000,000 in Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration (LHRD) grant program funding for Niagara County. The funding was allocated through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to address lead hazards in 100 housing units in Niagara County, providing safer homes for low and very low-income families with children.
“Lead poisoning is an irreversible, preventable tragedy that robs many families and children of their future,” said Senator Schumer. “We must do everything we can to eliminate lead from our homes and this major federal grant will do just that by injecting much-needed funds into lead remediation and prevention here in Niagara County.”
“No New Yorker should have to live in a home where they could be poisoned by lead. This federal funding will support Niagara County’s work to remove lead from the homes of some of our most vulnerable families,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Lead causes severe health problems and it needs to be removed from our homes. I will always fight in the Senate to make sure that our communities have the resources they need to keep our families healthy and safe.”
“This lead grant will provide the necessary training and resources to help protect families, especially children, from the hazards associated with lead paint exposure. These hazards can impact a child’s life into adulthood and having this funding is truly life-changing for those we serve. This is another tool for our public health professionals, and those we partner with, to protect the communities that we serve,” said Legislator Richard Andres, Chairman of the Niagara County Legislature’s Community Services committee.
The County of Niagara will be partnering with medical and social service providers to ensure safer homes by addressing lead hazards in 100 housing units for low-income families with children. Schumer and Gillibrand 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, they have successfully pushed their 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 and Gillibrand were 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.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), lead is much more harmful to children than adults because it can affect children’s developing nerves and brains. Lead-based paint, still encasing the walls of many homes, often erodes and settles on children’s toys on the floor, eventually falling into the hands and mouths of children. Senators Schumer and Gillibrand have long advocated for protecting New York’s children and families in the past by securing millions of dollars in federal funding to eradicate the toxic element from homes in order to reduce lead-poisoning cases. Lead poisoning can cause developmental difficulties, physical pain, and neurological damage.
The purpose of the LHRD 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.