Help for those with lead-based paint in homes

September 26, 2011 4:02:18 PM PDT
Lead-based paint may not seem like something we still have to worry about, but that is just not the case here in Houston. The city's health department believes there are still hundreds of homes with lead paint problems. But there is help for those living in lead.

The city has been attacking the lead-based paint problem for years, and now additional money is being given to local officials to make homes with lead paint safe.

There is still a problem with lead paint on Birmingham Street. This home is covered with lead-based paint, but soon it will look like Carolyn Dawson's home across the street.

"They took all the bad wood off and replaced it with new wood and painted what needed to be painted," said Dawson. "And then that's when they put the siding on."

Dawson would not have been able to pay for the renovations that now cover the lead paint on her home without help from the city of Houston's lead poisoning prevention program.

"I am a single parent, and I have my grand kids that I am help raising and I retired," said Dawson.

The city and county have received million of dollars in the past to take on lead-based paint; now the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is giving Harris County and the city of Houston more than $5 million more to keep up the fight.

"It is an issue, a tremendous issue with the city of Houston. Any time you see older houses, pre-1978, look around," said Brenda Reyes with the Houston Department of Health and Human Services.

Reyes says every year 300 Houston kids test positive for lead in their blood stream and the new grant dollars can potentially help 600 children from lead poisoning. For kids living around lead paint, the problems are very real.

"You will start seeing a reduction of IQ in the kids, they will have a reduction of IQ. In the kids, you will see they do not have the hand-eye coordination," Reyes said.

To qualify, you have to live in a home built before 1978, have a child that spends at least 60 hours in the home per year and meet income requirements. For instance, a family of four could not make more than $33,000 per year.

You do not have to own the home; if it has lead-based paint and you meet the requirements, call 3-1-1 and the city will send out an inspector to determine if you house has lead-based paint.


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