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Could Syracuse see the return of lead abatement funding?

Ellen Abbott

The city of Syracuse would be in line for federal funding to alleviate lead paint in older homes, if one Trump Administration official has her way. 

While visiting Syracuse this week, HUD Region II Administrator Lynne Patton said eliminating sources of lead poisoning is one of the priorities of Housing and Urban Development Director Dr. Ben Carson. So she’s promising to help the city of Syracuse get back on track and do the things necessary to get a 20-year old program that removes lead paint from homes up and running again. The city lost the HUD grant that paid for the program two years ago, because of technical issues with the city’s application.

“These are simple fixes. And I want to make sure I am offering the city of Syracuse the opportunity to work with healthy home professionals to ensure their best chance of being awarded this money that they so desperately need,” said Patton.

Patton said if the issue is with paperwork, then it is a simple fix, and healthy home professionals will help the city work through that.

“It has to be a competitive application,” she said. “That we have no control over. But making sure that it is timely and consistent, and actually processed accordingly is something we can control.”

Lead paint was commonly used until 1978, when it was outlawed. Because of the age of much of the city’s housing stock, it remains a hazard in Syracuse, and health officials connect high levels of lead poisoning to the chipping and peeling paint in older homes.

Lead poisoning is especially dangerous for children and can cause brain damage and developmental disabilities. Onondaga County does have a lead abatement program funded by HUD and a portion of that is spent in the city.