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Syracuse area 'perilously close' to no funding for lead removal

Wayne Marshall
via Flickr

After three years of rejection, the city of Syracuse is again applying for federal funding to reduce childhood lead poisoning. The money would be used to eliminate the hazards in a home that can result in lead poisoning. Commissioner of Neighborhood and Business Development Paul Driscoll said this year’s application will also include inspecting homes for other potential dangers.

"It could be mold, radon, asbestos or pest infestation that leads to asthma," Driscoll said. "We’re trying to address all the health hazards in a house with one visit, one application."

The city has referred residents to Onondaga County’s lead program but Driscoll said funding is also running low for that program as well.

"This community is perilously close to having no dedicated funding for lead, so that’s why this is so important," Driscoll said

After hearing complaints from residents, Councilor Helen Hudson said the issue is city-wide because of the city’s older housing stock.

"My radars are all over this because I have been so adamant about this lead," Hudson said. "It’s not acceptable that the federal government would deny us, and our children are dying."

Syracuse has been denied funding since its lead program was put on probation in 2013.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.