Washington, DC – U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $161,500 in federal funding for the Syracuse Housing Authority to combat the ongoing threat of lead throughout the city’s homes. The funding was allocated through the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Lead-Based Paint Capital Fund (LBPCF) program, and will specifically be used to conduct lead-based paint risk assessments, housing inspections, and long-term and temporary abatement measures in public housing. Schumer has long fought to beat back the scourge of lead-based paint in Syracuse. In November of 2018 he visited Syracuse to push for a critical $4.1 million grant for the city to re-start its lead abatement program, which had previously been shuttered after the city stopped receiving funding from HUD, and a month later in December announced his efforts were successful.
“Lead poisoning is an irreversible, preventable tragedy that robs too many families and specifically children of their future, especially here in Syracuse. Forty years after the federal government banned the use of lead paint, it is still a plague upon the people of Central New York, so we have to do everything possible to eliminate exposure to it,” said Senator Schumer. “Fortunately, this major investment in the Syracuse Housing Authority will aim to do just that, by identifying lead hazards and working to remove them from the homes of some of our most vulnerable families. I’m proud to announce this crucial federal funding and will always fight in the Senate to make sure our communities have the resources they need to keep our families healthy and safe.”
“No New Yorker should have to live in a home where they could be poisoned by lead. This federal investment for the Syracuse Housing Authority is great news and it will help identify and eliminate lead in the homes of some of our most vulnerable families,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Lead poisoning causes severe mental and health problems, and we must do everything we can to protect families from this toxin. I’m proud to support this funding and will continue to fight to provide our communities with the federal support necessary to remove lead from our homes.”
After HUD pulled Syracuse’s lead grant five years ago, Schumer worked closely with multiple city and HUD administrations to reestablish the funding. He helped convince HUD to allow Syracuse to reapply for the program and supported subsequent applications with federal officials. In 2016, Schumer pleaded in a personal phone call with then-HUD Secretary Julian Castro to provide funding to restart Syracuse’s program. Throughout his years of advocacy with federal officials, Schumer was told that lack of federal appropriations from Congress to HUD remained a barrier. Therefore Schumer worked in his leadership position to significantly increase funding for HUD’s lead programs in Congress and will continue to do the same in future budget negotiations.
HUD’s Lead-Based Paint Capital Fund provides funding to Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) to identify and reduce lead-based paint hazards in eligible housing units.