HUD FY16 Request:
Office of Lead Hazard Control & Healthy Homes

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Evidence of National Need for Healthy Housing

An estimated 535,000 U.S. children, 2.6% of those aged 1–5 years, have blood lead levels greater than the current CDC reference level of 5 mg/dL. Lead poisoning lowers IQ and increases learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, and aggressive behavior. This increases the need for special education services, increases the likelihood of criminal activity, reduces the likelihood of high school and college graduation, and lowers lifetime earnings. Data from the American Housing Survey indicate that 23.2 million U.S. housing units have prominent lead hazards and 1.1 million are in low income households with children under 6. Approximately 17 million homes have elevated levels of 4 or more allergens, which are triggers for asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

Improving Low-Income Housing Conditions Will Save Billions in Healthcare Costs

Lead poisoning results in an average loss of lifetime earnings of $723,000 per child. Each dollar invested in lead paint hazard control results in a return of $17–$221. The total (direct and indirect) cost for unintentional injuries in the home is over $200 billion annually. 40% of asthma episodes are triggered in the home. Asthma home interventions similar to those supported by HUD have been estimated by HHS as providing a benefit-cost ratio of 5.3 to 14.0. Applying that ratio to the $40 million devoted to asthma control by HUD’s healthy homes program since its inception in fiscal year 1999 indicates a benefit of at least $212 million.

Creating Return on Federal Investment: HUD Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes (OLHCHH)

Each year OLHCHH reduces the number of children poisoned by lead paint and protects families by eliminating lead hazards in over 7,000 low-income homes. No other federal grant program directly targets home hazards that threaten the health and safety of residents. The lead hazard control programs remediate lead hazards such as paint chips and dust in pre-1978 homes. The Lead Technical Studies improve the understanding of the connection between housing conditions and residents’ health, and identifies effective interventions and preventive measures. The Healthy Homes program eliminates environmental hazards including mold and moisture intrusion, asthma triggers, radon, carbon monoxide, and pest infestations. Current funding is insufficient to create a meaningful health return for low-income families in the United States. Increasing the FY15 budget to $25 million will allow 4,000 additional homes to be remediated.

OLHCHH Budget History (in millions)