Washington, DC – U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $3,532,078 in federal funding for the City of Utica. The funding was awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and will be used to help remove or address lead hazards in 180 housing units for low and very low-income families throughout Utica. Specifically, Utica will receive $2,932,078 from the Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction grant program and $600,000 in Healthy Homes Supplemental funding. The city will also use the funding to perform healthy homes assessments. Earlier this year, both Schumer and Gillibrand wrote to HUD to advocate for this funding for Utica.
“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 Utica.”
“No New Yorker should have to live in a home where they could be poisoned by lead, and that’s why I fought on behalf of Utica so that it could get funding it needs to protect some of our most vulnerable families from this toxic chemical,” said Senator Gillibrand, who wrote a letter of support for this funding. “This federal funding will support the city’s continued efforts to identify and eliminate lead in homes throughout the Mohawk Valley, and I will continue to do everything in my power to make sure that it can have the resources necessary to keep our families healthy and safe.”
“Reducing the health hazards associated with lead-based paint in older housing in Utica has long been a priority of mine. This funding from HUD will go a long way to addressing this significant problem through a community partnership. This is exciting news, because it will improve the quality of life of area children and their families. I will continue working with Senators Gillibrand and Schumer, and community leaders and agencies in further addressing the issue,” said Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi of Utica.
“Securing over $3 million through the Lead Based Paint Hazard Reduction grant program and Healthy Homes Supplemental funding will provide much needed resources to assist our community in enhancing lead prevention and combating lead poisoning. The City of Utica is a proud member of the Lead-Free MV Coalition and this initiative could not be achieved without strong partnerships. I commend Senators Schumer and Gillibrand for their continued advocacy and support for Utica,” said Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri.
“This is tremendous news for our community and an affirmation of the work The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties has done with the City of Utica, Oneida County and our many Lead-Free MV Coalition partners,” said Community Foundation President & CEO Alicia Dicks. “We’re grateful for the support of Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, and this announcement is especially meaningful since it comes on the heels of the Lead-Safe Utica’s pilot program in West Utica. Our community’s success in attracting HUD’s Lead Hazard Reduction program funding will advance this critical work, as we continue to address childhood lead poisoning now and in the future.”
HUD’s Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction grant program works to identify and control lead-based paint hazards in eligible housing units. These grants are used to assist municipalities in carrying out lead hazard control activities. The Healthy Homes Supplemental funding is used to identify and remediate housing related health and safety hazards that contribute to disease and injury. More information can be found here.
A copy of Gillibrand’s and Schumer’s letters to HUD can be found here and below.
August 9, 2018
The Honorable Ben Carson
U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development
451 7th Street SW
Washington, DC 20410
Dear Secretary Carson,
I write in support of the application submitted by the City of Utica for funding from the Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Program through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The requested funding will be used to continue and expand the Lead-Free Mohawk Valley Coalition’s efforts to reduce lead-based paint hazards in high-risk areas of the City of Utica.
Home to over 60,000 residents, the City of Utica has consistently had one of the highest rates of childhood lead poisoning in New York State. One of the main sources of exposure to lead hazards is found right in the home, as an abundance of the city’s housing stock was built before lead-based paint was banned in 1978. Given the serious physical and developmental consequences of even short-term exposure, the City of Utica has become a leading partner in the Lead-Free Mohawk Valley Coalition, a collaborative organization committed to reducing lead poisoning across Oneida County.
The requested funding will be used to support the Lead-Free Mohawk Valley Coalition’s continued efforts to identify and eliminate lead-based paint hazards in pre-1978 housing, with a focus on high-risk units owned or rented by the City’s most vulnerable residents. These target areas include the West Utica, Downtown, Cornhill, and Bleecker Street neighborhoods. By helping support additional efforts to increase testing and community awareness, this funding will help protect children in the City of Utica from lifelong illness and allow all members of the Mohawk Valley community to thrive.
I ask that you please give this application your full consideration. If you have any questions, or desire further information, please do not hesitate to contact my staff member Laura Driscoll at (202) 224-4451.
Dear Secretary Carson:
I am pleased to write in support of the application submitted by the City of Utica for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction (LHR) Program and Healthy Homes Supplemental Funding (FR-6200-N-12). The health hazards associated with lead contamination continue to plague Oneida County, where the incidence rate of elevated blood lead levels in children is one of the highest in New York State, especially in the city of Utica. As a member of the Lead-Free Mohawk Valley Coalition, Utica has been engaged in a strategic effort to protect hundreds of children from the devastating health effects of lead poisoning.
Lead Safe Utica program partners have been working diligently to address this threat by focusing on neighborhoods where the problem is most prevalent. LHR program resources will enable these partners to increase lead hazard control measures and expand healthy homes activities city-wide.
The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties’ renewed commitment to support the Lead-Free MV Coalition with an additional $5 million over the next 10 years will help expedite the reduction of lead poisoning in Utica’s aging housing stock. I stand ready to do what I can to help protect at-risk children in Utica neighborhoods, to secure a safe and healthy future for the City’s most vulnerable residents. I applaud the City of Utica for its foresight and sincerely hope the application meets with your approval.
Thank you for your consideration. Please do not hesitate to contact me or my Grants Coordinator in my Washington, DC, office at 202-224-6542.
Charles E. Schumer