The city of Memphis will soon launch a three-year program to reduce lead hazards in 240 housing units built before 1978, thanks to a $3,714,272 federal grant from the department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The grant, which was announced on Tuesday afternoon, will also fund "healthy homes" assessments in 65 units. The city's office of Housing and Community Development (HCD) will train 65 low-income residents to be lead hazard workers and 15 to be lead hazard supervisors. Those trainings will be facilitated by the Renaissance Business Center, and anyone interested should contact 526-9300.
Congressman Steve Cohen helped secure the HUD grant funding for the city.
“I appreciate Congressman Cohen’s assistance in getting these funds channeled to our city to help rid homes of dangerous lead-based paints that are a known health hazard,” said Mayor A C Wharton. “We are grateful that HUD recognizes the need in our community, and we look forward to working with the Shelby County Health Department, Memphis Housing Authority, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, and local non-profits in administering these grant funds to help protect the help of our low-income families.”
Homes built before 1978 were commonly painted with lead-based paints, which have since been banned. Lead is a toxic metal that can cause permanent damage to the brain and other vital organs, especially in children under age six.
Anyone with a home built before 1978 can call the HCD Lead-Safe Program at 576-7325 or 576-7335 for a free lead-based paint inspection. The Lead Hazard Reduction program will serve all of Shelby County, but a higher priority will be placed on units where children with elevated blood lead levels live. Second priority will be given to units the following zip codes: 38103, 38104, 38105, 38108, 38112, 38116, 38117, 38118, 38119, 38126, 38128, and 38141.