BALTIMORE – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski together with Congressmen Elijah E. Cummings and John P. Sarbanes (all D-Md.), today announced the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has awarded $3,365,733 million in Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration grant program funding and $325,000 in Healthy Homes supplemental funding to the City of Baltimore. With this grant, the City will be able to address lead hazards in 230 housing units for low- and very low-income families, and perform healthy homes assessments in 330 units.
“Responsible public officials have a duty to protect the most vulnerable among us, especially children. Lead paint poisoning continues to be a public health issue that negatively impacts the lives of too many people in Baltimore City,” said Senator Cardin, a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “We know the long-term impacts of lead poisoning can be costly and even deadly. This federal investment in lead paint remediation will help saves lives in Baltimore City. Every American deserves access to safe and secure housing and this grant bring us one step closer to that goal.”
“Children are disproportionately at risk for lead poisoning in major urban areas. Children from poor families are at the greatest risk – they are eight times more likely to get lead poisoning than other children,” said Senator Mikulski, Vice Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “That’s why I fought to create the lead paint demonstration program and stand up each year to increase funding to remove lead-based paint from homes in Maryland and across the country. Baltimore families need a government on their side. This funding is an important step in protecting children from lead exposure and make a real difference for Baltimore’s families.”
“Lead poisoning is one of the most preventable environmental diseases, and still, many of our children have been affected,” Congressman Cummings said. “I commend HUD for awarding this grant to Baltimore to provide the city with the resources needed to keep our children safe and healthy.”
“Too many children in Baltimore are exposed to and suffer from the toxic effects of lead poisoning,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “This important grant funding from HUD will help mitigate lead exposures in hundreds of low-income housing units throughout the city.”
Baltimore City has nearly three times the national rate of lead poisoning, which disproportionately affects African-American children living in old, distressed housing. To combat lead poisoning, this funding will help the City of Baltimore collaborate with a diverse set of local partners, including the Baltimore City Health Department and the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative to identify and cut down on lead paint in low- and very low-income homes. Baltimore is one of 14 cities receiving a Lead Hazard Reduction grant to address lead hazards in 3,165 housing units across the country.
Lead poisoning is the number one environmental hazard threatening children throughout the United States. It can reduce IQ, cause learning disabilities, and impair hearing. Elevated and high exposures to lead can damage children’s kidneys and central nervous system, and can cause anemia, confusion, and even death. It is estimated that anti-social behaviors and increased special education needs caused by lead poisoning costs the general public millions of dollars each year due to lost wages and burden on taxpayers.