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Community Development money can help with lead paint removal

— The mission of Onondaga County’s Community Development Division is to improve the quality of life for the county’s low- and moderate-income residents by preserving and rebuilding neighborhoods, revitalizing and increasing the county’s housing stock, upgrading the infrastructure and providing needed community facilities. The Community Development Division receives numerous state and federal grants throughout the year to aid in this mission.

Removing lead paint from homes built prior to 1978 has become a particular priority for the federal government. Deteriorating lead-based paint and paint dust can be poisonous, especially for children. If not detected early, children with high levels of lead in their bodies can suffer from damage to the brain and nervous system, behavioral and learning disabilities, slowed growth, hearing problems and headaches. Onondaga County has received six grants over the past few years totaling more than $20 million to assist with the removal of lead paint. In an average home, it costs the county $12,000 to remove all of the lead hazards. The funding from the federal government has been overwhelmingly helpful in this endeavor. However, it is necessary that we spend the funds we receive in a specified amount of time or risk losing the funding all together. The Onondaga County Health Department, in conjunction with the Community Development Division, has organized an outreach program involving social media, commercials and public service announcements. Their staff has dropped literature and pamphlets off at town halls and village offices, libraries, grocery stores, senior centers, community centers and municipal buildings. It is imperative that qualified homeowners take advantage of this funding.

If you own or rent a home built before 1978, have a child under the age of 6 who lives or visits there and you meet certain financial guidelines, you may be eligible for the Lead Hazard Reduction Grant. You may also qualify for other Community Development grants that could help you upgrade windows or doors in your home or provide funding for wheelchair ramps and other handicapped-accessibility improvements.

All are encouraged to contact the Onondaga County Community Development office at 435-3558 for additional information and eligibility, whether you think that you will qualify or not. This is an opportunity that simply cannot be missed.

Casey Jordan represents the 14th district, which includes the eastern portion of the town of Clay and the village of North Syracuse. Casey welcomes constituent feedback and can be contacted at 474-2644.

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