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Grant to help Allegheny County remove lead hazards for low-income families

Theresa Clift
| Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 4:47 p.m.
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Allegheny County launched a program Wednesday to eliminate lead paint hazards for 175 low-income families.

The Allegheny Lead Safe Homes Program will be funded mostly with a $3.4 million federal grant, the county said.

The county and city also kicked in $375,000 each, said Cassandra Collinge, assistant director for housing and human services for the county's Economic Development Department.

“Through this collaboration, we're able to make improvements to properties that will ensure that good, quality, affordable housing is available in our community that is also safe for our families,” County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said in a statement.

The announcement was made about 10 months after the county learned it was chosen to receive the U.S. Housing and Urban Development grant. Allegheny County was Pennsylvania's only recipient.

About 89 percent of houses in the county were built before 1978, when the federal government banned lead paint.

Applicants who are chosen will get lead paint inspections. If lead is found, the county will hire contractors to remove it, Collinge said. The work could include repainting and replacements of windows, doors, linoleum and carpet flooring, the release said.

To qualify, families must meet HUD's income requirements, include a pregnant woman or child under 6 and live in a residence built before 1978, the release said. Properties where a child under 6 spends a significant amount of time also qualify.

Families do not need to have a child with an elevated level of lead in their blood, but priority will be given to those who do, the release said.

The program is open to homeowners and renters.

About 75 of the homes will be selected for remediation of other hazards, such as electrical and radon problems, through the county's Safe and Healthy Homes program , Collinge said.

To apply, call ACTION-Housing at 412-227-5700 or email a name and phone number to alleghenylead@actionhousing.org. More information is available at alleghenycounty.us/leadsafeprogram.

Theresa Clift is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-5669 or tclift@tribweb.com.

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