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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development
Press Room

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release # 21-05
Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Neill McG. Coleman, HPD (212) 863-8076
Sid Dempsey, DOHMH (212) 788-5290


$7.5 MILLION IN FEDERAL FUNDS TO COMBAT LEAD-BASED PAINT POISONING IN BROOKLYN COMMUNITIES

Building Owners Can Apply For Lead Grants At HPD's Website

New York City will receive a record $7.5 million to reduce lead-based paint hazards in Brooklyn neighborhoods where children are at high-risk of lead poisoning. The money is a grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. A further $4.75 million will come from the City's Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) in capital and in-kind contributions. The targeted neighborhoods are Ridgewood/Bushwick, Bedford Stuyvesant and East New York. Based on US Census and New York City data, these three neighborhoods have the City's highest incidences of elevated blood levels in children less than six years of age, and have a significant number of buildings built before 1940. New York City building owners interested in applying for lead grants can access information at HPD's website: www.nyc.gov/hpd

Shaun Donovan, HPD Commissioner said, "We are very grateful to HUD for providing these grants. The level of funding, at $7.5 million is a record for HPD. Along with our community partners, we will be able to use these grants to protect young children and reduce lead-based hazards in specific city neighborhoods where the incidences of lead poisoning are still too high."

"These funds will allow the City to prevent more cases of lead poisoning in high-risk neighborhoods, especially in single- and two-family homes, where about a third of childhood lead poisoning cases occur," said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. "While new cases of lead poisoning in New York City have decreased 83% over the past decade, much more needs to be done. We thank HUD for their support."

"Families need a safe and healthy home to raise their kids," said Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson. "This funding supports programs that protect children from a variety of health and safety hazards and represents another step toward ending childhood lead poisoning once and for all."

The $7.5 million will fund programs that will reduce lead-based paint hazards in 526 apartments. Through a partnership with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene the City will target housing units where children have elevated blood lead levels. The program will also outreach to community leaders in the neighborhoods, highlighting the need for and benefits of lead awareness. The City will target housing units that have been identified as "physically poor" by HPD's Office of Code Enforcement.

Lead education initiatives will receive $500,000 of the grant money. Education programs will include distributing lead awareness packages through 21 local hardware stores, and simulcasting 84 lead-paint courses to educate owners, tenants and local contractors. HPD will also train and certify owners and contractors on visual inspections and lead safe work practices.

The City will partner with two community-based organizations to assist HPD with informing owners about the grants. Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation and the Pratt Area Community Council in Brooklyn have more than two decades of experience providing their respective communities with housing assistance. Michelle Neugebauer, Executive Director of the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation said, "We are thrilled to have these resources to allow us to expand our outreach. We will be able to make more owners aware of the incentives and tools available to them to reduce the presence of lead paint based hazards from their buildings. We will also be informing tenants about the dangers of lead paint and the importance of testing."

Building owners who would like more information or an application for HPD's Primary Prevention Program may call (212) 863-6389.

HPD is the nation's largest municipal housing preservation and development agency. A major responsibility of the agency is to encourage the preservation of affordable housing through education, outreach, loan programs and enforcement of housing quality standards.

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