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Politics and Government

Syracuse losing millions in federal funds for lead paint removal

Wayne Marshall
via Flickr

Syracuse has lost out on federal funding for lead removal in city homes for the first time in two decades and will have to now rely on the county’s program.

The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, didn’t give any reason why Syracuse's application for $3 million was denied, the city said today.

"Our program funding will run out at the end of this year," said Mayor Stephanie Miner. "And then the program will be over."

HUD has given the city millions of dollars to inspect homes and remove lead every year since 1993.

Seven percent of Syracuse children under the age of 6 have elevated levels of lead in their blood, according to the city, which is cause for the inspections and removal.

Onondaga County’s grant allotment was actually upped by HUD from an amount equal to the city’s, to $3.9 million.

The city will lean on the county to help inspect homes within its lines, Miner said, "but make no mistake about it, you can’t cut the money this community got in half and expect the same level of service."

Miner argues an extra $900,000 given to the county won’t be enough money come next year to inspect the roughly 135 homes the city does now.

"So you got just over half of the money to service double the amount of population; you can’t. And where the lead issue is the worst is in the city of Syracuse," she said.

That’s because most of the city’s homes were built before 1940. Lead was outlawed from paint four decades later.

The four city workers in the program will most likely also be out of a job now, according to the city.