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PATERSON — City officials plan to use a $3.4 million federal grant to remove lead paint from 66 Paterson homes where low-income families with children live.
In 2019, Paterson had 367 confirmed cases of children under six with elevated lead levels in their blood, officials said. But the city does not have any statistics on the number of homes that still have lead paint.
Mayor Andre Sayegh said the money for lead pain removal will “go a long way” in helping the city’s health division combat childhood lead poisoning in Paterson.
“The missing component throughout this time was funding to provide the construction improvements necessary for lead abatement,” the mayor said, “as it can be cost prohibitive to most homeowners, especially in low-income communities, and must be done in a professionally prescribed manner.”
About $1.39 million, or 41% of the money from the three-year grant, will directly cover the cost of removing the lead, according to the city’s grant application. Another $1.24 million will pay for salaries and fringe benefits for municipal health employees working on the program, the documents show.
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The grant also provides $171,600 to pay relocation costs for families while the lead removal is taking place in their homes. That includes two hotel rooms per family at $100 per night for 10 nights as well as $50 per family per day to cover transportation costs, the grant application says. Moreover, the grant includes $20,000 for the city to buy a lead analyzer and $58,217 for city staff to attend lead hazard conferences.
City officials said they are not sure exactly when they will begin taking applications for participation in the lead removal program. Paterson health officer Dr. Paul Persaud said the application and selection process would be based on guidelines set by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The city is actually getting two grants, officials said. One for $3 million from HUD’s lead hazard remediation program and another $400,000 from a federal “healthy homes” initiative, officials said.
“In 2020, no child should live in a home that’s dangerous to their health, and we must continue investing federal resources to ensure all federally-assisted homes are free of lead hazards,” said Sen. Bob Menendez in a press release announcing the grants. “The cost of inaction is far too great for our kids and our communities.”
Joe Malinconico is editor of Paterson Press. Email: [email protected]
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