Applications now being accepted for lead mitigation for houses in Winnebago County
The “Creating Lead Safe Rockford” (CLSR) program of the Winnebago County Health Department is now taking applications for consideration of houses for lead mitigation. The program and its partners have received a $2.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to mitigate lead hazards in at least 200 low- to moderate-income homes in the Rockford area, both rental and owner-occupied.
The Health Department will be managing agency in conducting the initial home inspections to identify lead hazards, approving the work orders, and insuring the work has been completed successfully in a lead-safe manner.
Lead poisoning is the No. 1 environmental illness of children and the most common preventable pediatric health problem in the United States today. Lead poisoning occurs when lead builds up in the body, often over a period of months or years. Even small amounts of lead can cause serious health problems. Children younger than 6 are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, which can severely affect mental and physical development. Lead poisoning effects are preventable, but irreversible. At very high levels, lead poisoning can be fatal.
Children are commonly exposed to lead through breathing in or ingesting of paint chips and contaminated dust from deteriorated or disturbed lead-based paint in homes built before 1978.
To be considered for the Creating Lead Safe Rockford program, houses must be in the ZIP code areas of 61101, 61102, 61103 and 61104, which are rated among the highest in the state of Illinois for pediatric blood lead poisoning (more than 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood).
To qualify for this program, homeowners must meet the following requirements:
• Meet all HUD requirements, including income guidelines and ZIP code requirements.
• Have lead-based paint hazards in the home, and the home must be built prior to 1978.
• Have a child younger than 6 residing in the household.. Priority goes to those qualifying households that have a pregnant woman and/or a child younger than 6 who has an elevated blood lead level (more than 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood).
• Funds are limited, so resources will only be used to correct lead hazards. Homes that meet the prerequisites, but have severe structural defects, will not be allowed in the program.
For questions and to request more information about the program, contact Dana Esparza, Winnebago County Health Department’s Lead Program manager, at (815) 720-4130, or to fill out an application, contact Ryan Kerch, Winnebago County Health Department’s Lead Rehabilitation specialist, at (815) 720-4347, or go online to www.wchd.org.
From the May 16-22, 2012, issue
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