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2007-10-23 14:00:00

HUD Announces $8.1 Million To Protect Houston Children from Lead

At least 550 homes in Houston and Harris County will become healthier places to raise children due to $8.1 million in funding announced by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson. Jackson joined Houston Mayor Bill White to make the announcement at the home of Frank & Esther Ramirez, Houston grandparents whose home was recently cleared of lead-based paint hazards.

The funding is part of nearly $150 million awarded nationwide and a total of $12 million throughout Texas to identify and clean up potentially dangerous lead-based paint hazards in older privately owned low-income housing. Since 1992, HUD has awarded nearly $47 million to eliminate lead-based paint hazards in the state of Texas, resulting in nearly 2,500 homes made lead-safe. (See attached list of Texas grantees).

"This is an investment in our children's futures," said Jackson. "As public servants, we have no greater responsibility than to leave our kids a world that is better than what our parents gave us. We can help do that by making sure that the tragedy of lead poisoning will be resigned to history books."

Mayor White said, "There's nothing more important that we can do than protect the health and safety of our citizens. This money will go a long way toward doing just that and we thank Secretary Jackson for his help in making this program happen."

HUD's grants are provided through the Department's Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control and Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration grant programs. This funding helps states, Native American Tribes and local governments to undertake comprehensive programs to identify and control lead-based paint hazards in eligible privately owned rental housing. Combined, these programs represent the largest federal effort to clean up potentially dangerous lead in housing.

While lead-based paint was banned for use in the home in 1978, HUD estimates approximately 24 million homes still have significant lead-based paint hazards today. Lead-contaminated dust is the primary cause of lead exposure and can lead to a variety of health problems in young children including reduced IQ, learning disabilities, developmental delays, reduced height, and impaired hearing. At higher levels, lead can damage a child's kidneys and central nervous system and cause anemia, coma, convulsions and even death.

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