East Orange, NJ: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has awarded the State of New Jersey a $3.6 million grant and the East Orange Department of Health and Human Services (EODHHS) a $1.6 million grant to help protect children and families from lead-based paint and home health hazards. The grants were two of 48 grant awards distributed nationwide, officials said.
“Millions of families live in housing that threaten their health and safety,” said Matthew Ammon, Director of HUD's Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes. “This year, HUD is expanding our reach into 16 cities for the first time to directly support their efforts to identify and clean up potentially dangerous hazards like lead and mold.”
According to HUD, the awarded grants will protect families and children by targeting health hazards in approximately 6,500 low-income homes with significant lead and health hazards. HUD’s lead hazard control grant programs have successfully filled critical needs for remediating housing hazards, focusing on the most vulnerable residents of communities with limited local resources to address these hazards.
“Lead-based paint exposure in the home adversely affects adults and children, and is especially dangerous for developing fetuses and children under the age of six,” said Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver, who also serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “This critical funding granted to the State and City of East Orange will complement and augment existing abatement and remediation programs to help reduce the harmful effects of lead-based paint exposure in low-income homes.”
East Orange is a first-time recipient and the only city in the state of New Jersey to receive the Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control and Lead-Based Paint and Lead Reduction Demonstration Grant. The chief goal for the grant is to build upon the city’s existing lead remediation activities and reduce the number of lead-based paint hazards in high-risk housing units constructed prior to 1940.
“Ensuring that our city has all the appropriate measures to aggressively take on any health hazard is a top priority,” said Mayor Ted Green. “With this new funding, we can conduct child screenings for lead poisoning, focus on structural improvements and further spread educational awareness on the importance of home maintenance.”
In East Orange, Michael Hodges, Director of Health and Human Services, will serve as the project director and oversee the proposed grant activities, while Dr. Victor Kuteyi, Lead Inspector and Risk Assessor, will conduct home and paint quality control checks throughout targeted areas in the city.