WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced $2,900,000 in federal funding for Mahoning County to remove lead and other health hazards in local homes to protect children and families from the life-long health effects of lead exposure. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding will address lead hazards in 165 housing units to provide safer homes for low and very low-income families with children. The county will work with its partners including the Trumbull County Planning Commission, the United Way, the City of Youngstown Community Development Agency, Youthbuild of Trumbull County, Organizacion Civica y Cultural Hispana Americana, Inc., and the Mahoning County District Board of Health.
“Families shouldn’t have to worry that their home is poisoning their child, but sadly, that’s reality for too many in Ohio,” said Brown. “This funding will give Mahoning County new resources to protect children from lead exposure. Removing lead hazards from homes is a smart investment in the health and futures of our kids and gives parents peace of mind that their child can grow up in a safe home.”
Mahoning County will receive $2.5 million from HUD’s Lead Based Paint Hazard Control grant program and $400,000 in Healthy Homes Supplemental funding.
Brown, ranking member of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, has been a strong supporter of federal funding to help prevent lead poisoning, monitor lead exposure in children, and eliminate lead hazards. Earlier this year, Brown voted for legislation which would provide $135 million for HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes grants, a $25 million increase over the previous year. The Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes helps protect children from health and safety hazards related to lead-based paint and other home hazards. In March, he wrote to Senate Appropriators requesting support for the program.
As part of the year-end appropriations bill passed in December, Brown supported funding for federal programs at HUD and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes received $110 million. The CDC’s Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention Program – the only federal program that provides funding for states and local health departments to conduct surveillance of where, how, and when children are exposed to lead – received $17 million.
Last week, Brown sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which oversees lead screening policies for children insured by Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), urging it to update its policies so more at-risk children are screened for lead. Better screening would ensure that next steps, like lead abatement, can be taken if a child’s blood levels indicate they have been exposed to lead.