Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today joined U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, along with Congressmen Elijah E. Cummings and Dutch Ruppersberger (all D-Md.), to announce $9.7 million in federal funding to address lead-based paint in Baltimore. The funding, awarded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), will help the City of Baltimore reduce lead-based paint hazards in low-income private housing.
“For far too many children in Baltimore City, exposure to lead-based paint poses serious long-term health problems and can lead to developmental disabilities,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “This significant federal investment in lead-based paint remediation and hazard reduction will help improve public health across our city.”
“All children deserve to grow up in a safe and nurturing environment,” said Senator Cardin. “Even the smallest amount of lead can harm the development of the brain and nervous system. These funds help to ensure that Baltimore families who rely on public housing have no reason to be concerned about this risk.”
“Families shouldn’t have to worry about their children’s exposure to lead – especially in their own homes,” said Senator Van Hollen. “We know that there are no safe levels of exposure for children, and we must do more to reduce this risk. This funding will go directly to that effort and will improve the standard of living for Baltimore residents. I will continue working in the Senate to provide resources to support the health, safety and well-being of our children.”
“Lead poisoning is one of the most preventable environmental diseases, and tragically still, far too many of our children have been affected and face a lifetime of possible health problems,” said Congressman Cummings. “For the sake of our children and generations yet unborn, we must do everything in our power to eliminate lead-based paint hazards in our community. I commend HUD for awarding this grant to Baltimore to provide the city with the resources needed to keep our city, especially our children, safe and healthy.”
“Baltimore City has nearly three times the national rate of lead poisoning, which disproportionately affects African-American children living in old, distressed housing,” said Congressman Ruppersberger. “These grant funds are critical to ensuring our children are growing up in healthy households with every opportunity to thrive and succeed in school and in life.”
“This federal grant represents a real lifeline for some of our city’s most vulnerable residents who have been exposed to lead-based paint,” said Baltimore City Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young. “The dangers associated with lead paint are real and life-altering. The funding secured by members of our Congressional delegation will allow us to better protect young children who are most at risk of exposure to lead.”
$9.1 million of the total $9.7 million in federal funds were awarded through HUD’s Lead Based Paint Hazard Control and Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration grant programs to identify and eliminate lead-based paint hazards in low-income and very-low-income private housing with children under the age of six living in the home. Baltimore was in part awarded the funding because it is a jurisdiction with a higher number of pre-1940 rental housing and higher rates of childhood lead poisoning cases. The remaining $600,000 of federal funds were awarded through HUD’s Healthy Homes grant program to address housing-related hazards in a coordinated fashion.
In August the Members announced $898,750 in federal funding for the Housing Authority of Baltimore City to conduct lead-based paint risk assessments, inspections, abatement, interim controls and clearance examinations.