BRISTOL BOROUGH >> The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced it will provide $1,563,106 in grant money for Bucks County to launch a county-wide lead hazard reduction program.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Joe DeFelice made the grant announcement during a press conference on Oct. 10 at the Bristol Borough Hall. He was joined by U.S. Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick and Bucks County Commissioner Chairman Robert Loughery.
According to HUD, the Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction program funding will enable the county to address lead hazards in 200 housing units, with a goal of safer homes for low- and very low-income families with children.
With more than 111,000 homes built prior to 1978, the Bucks County carries an increased risk of exposure to lead hazards for those who inhabit these aging houses. The federal funding will support lead hazard reduction work in both owner-occupied single family homes and rental properties in up to 28 municipalities.
"This year, HUD is awarding a record $46 million in grants throughout our region," said DeFelice. "I have seen firsthand the older housing stock in Bucks County and know this funding will significantly support ongoing work to clean up housing health hazards like dangerous lead. I applaud the county's efforts to improve the lives of low-income families by creating safer and healthier homes."
“The County of Bucks is interested in supporting initiatives that ensure the safety, enhance the health, and improve the quality of life for all Bucks County residents,” Loughery said. “This important initiative aligns with that priority, and we are pleased to invest in lead-remediation activities to further ensure the availability of safe housing.”
The program will be administered by the Bucks County Office of Community and Economic Development, in coordination with the county’s Housing Services and Health Departments. Its goals include controlling lead-based paint hazards, reducing housing-related health hazards in eligible households throughout the county, and ensuring that families affected by lead hazards are connected to healthcare resources.
“HUD understands the close connection between health and housing,” Matthew Ammon, director of HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Health Homes, said in a news release.
Bucks County is one of 77 state and local governments awarded this funding through HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes, and is one of just six grantees in Pennsylvania. Nationwide, $319 million is being spent on this initiative, enough to target more than 14,700 low-income homes with significant lead and other health hazards.
Loughery and County Chief Operating Officer Brian Hessenthaler congratulated Bucks County’s Community and Economic Development Director, Margaret McKevitt, for her division’s efforts in applying for and securing the grant.