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City gets $3 million for lead paint

December 21, 2018

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded Fort Wayne’s Office of Housing and Neighborhood Services more than $3 million for lead paint remediation in older homes. 

“These resources will go a long way in helping protect Fort Wayne’s children from the dangers of lead poisoning,” Mayor Tom Henry said in a statement Thursday. “I applaud city staff for working proactively to make our neighborhoods safer for today’s residents and future generations.”

The award is part of a 3,179,000, Fort Wayne received the largest grant in the state of Indiana. South Bend and Michigan City were the next highest awardees at $2.3 million each. 

The funds will be used to remove lead paint in about 140 homes in high-risk census tracts throughout the city, or in areas with older homes and high levels of children living in poverty. About 67,000 Fort Wayne homes were built before 1978 and could contain lead paint. That’s about 66 percent of the housing stock citywide. 

“Exposure to even small amounts of lead can cause significant and long-lasting health issues for young children,” said Kelly Lundberg, director of the Office of Housing and Neighborhood Services. “That’s why we’ll use these grant dollars to not only remediate lead paint, but also educate residents about lead paint hazards and offer opportunities for free lead testing.” 

Lead paint can be removed by replacing or repainting windows with peeling paint, which can cause lead dust to contaminate floors and toys. Walls can also be repainted and carpet and exterior siding can be replaced. 

The federal funding is not the first lead paint grant the city has received this year. In October, the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority granted the city $680,000 to remove lead paint in about 40 local homes. 

More information about lead poisoning can be found at www.allencountyhealth.com.

dgong@jg.net

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