June 13, 2016

HUD Secretary Castro Releases Lead-Safe Homes, Lead-Free Kids Toolkit To Support Work to End Lead Poisoning

GHHI Praises Expansion of Testing and Education

GHHI Releases National Strategy for Action

San Antonio, TX – The Green & Healthy Homes Initiative applauds U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julian Castro’s release of HUD’s Lead-Safe Homes, Lead-Free Kids Toolkit, and releases its National Strategy for Action to end childhood lead poisoning.  Announced today at the NEHA 2016 AEC and HUD Healthy Homes Conference presented by Green & Healthy Homes Initiative, this Toolkit reflects a series of short and long term actions to improve testing of homes and children, increase the public’s access to lead poisoning prevention education and resources and enhance HUD’s work with federal agencies, local governments and philanthropy to advance an agenda of prevention. 

“The actions set forth today help to strengthen the Department’s efforts to end the toxic legacy of lead hazards in our older homes and communities that has undermined the health and potential of generations of America’s children for far too long,” said Ruth Ann Norton, President and CEO of the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI), one of the nation’s foremost leaders on lead poisoning prevention.  “It is clear to see that Secretary Castro is invested in taking actions to prevent childhood lead poisoning and improving access to safe and healthy housing for every family served by HUD programs. While there is much work to be done, the announced Tool Kit and changes to the Lead Safe Housing Rule is a great step forward.”

Highlights of today’s announcement included:

HUD will award more than $46.5 million in Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration grants to 15 local and state government agencies to protect children and families from the hazards of lead-based paint and from other home health and safety hazards. The grant funding will reduce lead-based paint hazards in more than 3,100 low-income homes.

To strengthen protections for families living in HUD-assisted housing, HUD’s toolkit aims to:

·         Strengthen regulatory framework and monitoring by proposing revisions to HUD’s Lead Safe Housing Rule, which, when issued, will align the child blood lead level requiring response with the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) recommended level.

·         Identify and address known lead hazards through increased monitoring, improved local reporting

·         and guidance by increasing monitoring and enforcement of the Lead Safe Housing Rule and the Lead Disclosure Rule, as well as clarifying HUD guidance about these rules to Public Housing Agencies, owners of HUD-assisted housing, and HUD grantees.

·         Work with Administration partners to encourage an interagency focus on addressing lead hazard prevention for both paint and other sources.

·         Provide education and targeted outreach to increase awareness of lead by HUD families, housing providers, local governments, and other key stakeholders, and work with health departments to make available blood lead level testing to all children under age six in HUD assisted homes.

·         Conduct research to identify best practices and determine where best to target federal resources by studying the effectiveness of HUD grantees’ use of formula grants to address lead issues.

In light of the tragedy that occurred in Flint, Michigan, a new and brighter light has been shone on the issue of childhood lead poisoning. To address these issues and to set out a bold agenda to end lead poisoning as a major public health threat by 2021, GHHI has developed a set of broader lead poisoning prevention policy recommendations that supports HUD’s new initiatives while also establishing a national framework to strategically marshal the financial resources and regulatory tools to end childhood lead poisoning.  You may find these recommendations on the GHHI website at: www.ghhi.org/StrategicPlanEndingLeadpoisoning

Decades after ending lead in paint, gasoline, solder and other sources, lead poisoning remains one of the nation’s most devastating environmental health threats.  With over 535,000 children poisoned by lead each year impacted children enter school with diminished reading and learning abilities and drop out of school at a rate 7 times greater than their peers.  Additional effects include hearing loss, speech delays, aggressive even violent behavior and long term health impacts on the kidneys, heart and brain costing the US over $43 billion a year.

The good news is that lead poisoning is entirely preventable and the business case to implement prevention is clear: for every dollar invested in prevention taxpayers receive $17 to $221 in return.  More importantly children will be able to arrive in the classroom able and ready to learn and will be on a better path to reach their full potential.

About the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative

The Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI), formerly the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, replaces stand-alone programs with a comprehensive strategy to improve health, economic and social outcomes for children, families and seniors through a proven integrated housing intervention framework.

With support from HUD, DOE, CDC, the Council on Foundations, and numerous philanthropic partners, GHHI now serves as the national model for green and healthy homes interventions. Currently, there are 25 GHHI sites nationally: Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Dubuque, Flint, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Lansing, Lewiston Auburn, Marin County, Memphis, New Haven, Newark, Philadelphia, Pittsburg, Providence, Salt Lake, San Antonio, Springfield, Staten Island and Syracuse.

 

CONTACT:

Leslie Zarker: 301-300-9529

Bianca Quintana: 443-687-7342

media inquiries

For more information about the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative or to arrange an interview with our President & CEO Ruth Ann Norton, members of the media should contact:

ghhi@berlinrosen.com