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Erie, Niagara County receive $8M in federal funding for lead removal

U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand on Saturday announced $5.6 million in federal funding for Erie County and $2.75 million for Niagara County under the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Program.

The NY Democrats said the funding will allow Western New York to continue addressing and removing lead-based paint hazards in homes.

"No New Yorker should have to live in a home poisoned by lead," said Gillibrand. "This funding is a critical investment to start remediation and help keep some of our most vulnerable families safe."

“During my call with Secretary Carson, I made it clear that even 40 years after the federal government banned the use of lead paint, children in Western New York still continue to suffer the insidious consequences of toxic lead,” said Schumer. “Lead poisoning is an irreversible, preventable tragedy that robs too many children across the region of their futures. I couldn’t be more thrilled to announce today’s fantastic news, which will be a major boon for public health in Western New York.”

The senators said, as of 2016, the City of Buffalo alone had nearly 85,000 homes that could be classified as lead hazards, with nearly 12,000 of those homes housing children. In Erie County, 14% of all children tested positive for some level of lead poisoning. Similarly, in Niagara County, 9% of children tested positive.

The purpose of the Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Program is to identify and control lead-based paint hazards in eligible privately-owned housing for rental or owner-occupants. These grants are used to assist municipalities in carrying out lead hazard control activities.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's Director of News and Public Affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.
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