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The Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI), a national nonprofit organization that creates, implements and promotes programs and policies to eradicate childhood lead poisoning, reduce asthma episodes and increase the stock of healthy, safe and energy efficient homes, supports the passage of the Title X Amendments Act.
Title X authorizes HUD to award grants to local governments to address lead hazards in housing. Since 1992, HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes (OLHCHH) has provided more than $2 billion to local jurisdictions, improving hundreds of thousands of homes and keeping even more children safe from the dangers of lead-based paint There are still 30 million housing units nationwide that have significant health and safety deficiencies, and 535,000 children confirmed with elevated blood lead levels. The Title X Amendments will aid HUD in addressing these critical problems.
Greater flexibility to address health and safety hazards beyond lead: GHHI has seen environmental health and safety needs in the populations that it serves and has witnessed how health and safety hazards, when not addressed, can degrade and diminish lead hazard control investments. GHHI’s approach of comprehensive assessments of homes is supported by HUD through the lead hazard control and healthy homes programs, as well as the general section of the notice of funds availability (NOFA), which provides a bonus point in competitive applications that identify “activities that will comprehensively assess housing units for rehabilitation, health and energy deficiencies and coordinate interventions across multiple disciplines, and address the risks based on the comprehensive assessment.” The Amendment will provide more flexibility for OLHCHH funding to be invested in addressing health and safety hazards found through a comprehensive assessment.
Expanding the eligible grant recipients: Nonprofits are currently restricted from receiving HUD lead hazard control grants, despite many organizations having great success in the lead elimination action program from HUD in the past and conducting lead hazard control work with city, state and private sector resources. Families in need of services do not care if it is a government agency or nonprofit provider; they want their children safe from lead. Nonprofits that have the capacity to conduct lead hazard control should have the opportunity to receive HUD grants.
Making it easier and more efficient for families to apply for the HUD grant programs: GHHI has comprehensively addressed multiple hazards and deficiencies in a home by coordinating multiple funding stream and programs. Having a family fill out repetitive eligibility information for each program is burdensome on the family and inefficient for government. GHHI has relayed this issue to the federal Healthy Homes Work Group and has been pleased to hear that agencies such as HUD, HHS and DOE are working to streamline eligibilities. It will allow HUD to incorporate eligibility from other federal programs and improve programmatic efficiency.
Makes families in efficiency apartments eligible for HUD lead hazard control services: Currently the statute prohibits children who live in efficiency apartments from receiving HUD lead control investments. 123,000 children under 6 live in efficiency units that are currently ineligible for OLHCHH funds. They cannot choose where they live and need to be protected.