Maricopa County is working to decrease the number of children who get sick in their homes due to poisoning from lead-based paints. The Board of Supervisors just approved $1.8 million in federal grant money to be administered by the Human Services Department. This money will go toward reducing the risk of lead poisoning in four targeted communities in Maricopa County.
“We know that nearly 200 children in our county had elevated levels of lead in their blood in 2017. We can do something about this,” said Supervisor Steve Gallardo, District 5. “The Maricopa County Human Services Department has been able to narrow down the high-needs areas in the county where these kids and families live, and the money we approved today will be entirely dedicated to making homes in those areas safer and families in those areas healthier.”
This fall, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded more than $314 million to state and local government agencies to protect children from lead-based paint and home health hazards.
The Maricopa County Human Services Department is choosing to spend its nearly $2 million grant in the City of Tolleson and the towns of Gila Bend, Guadalupe, and Youngtown because of the high concentration of older homes, low-income residents, and children. In fact, each area has at least one zip code that has been identified by the Arizona Department of Health Services as a High-Risk Lead Poisoning Zip Code.
“We’ve already had great success reducing lead-based paint hazards in our community,” said Bruce Liggett, Director of the Maricopa County Human Services Department. “With this new funding from HUD, we can expand our reach, going into places we know are high-risk and make improvements that can greatly improve health outcomes for some of our most vulnerable residents.”
Human Services plans to use the grant money for the following activities on owner-occupied or rental homes:
- 120 units will receive risk assessment and lead testing
- 65 units will receive lead remediation work
- 65 units will receive a Health Homes inspection and have identified hazards remediated
- 65 children under the age of six will receive blood lead level screening
Grant dollars will also be used for community education and training for contractors. The program begins in January. For more information or to apply for the program, visit our website or email LeadSafe@Maricopa.gov.