Akron could be in line to receive $4 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to reduce the hazards caused by lead-based paint used in many of the city's older homes.
Akron City Council Monday night authorized the city to apply for the Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration Grant Program to provide lead hazard reduction rehabilitation services for 250 homes in HUD-designated Enterprise Community Areas in the city.
The targeted areas include wards 2, 3, 5, 7, 9 and 10, and just a small portion of ward 6. The grant program will target homes in the designated areas that have been built before 1978 that are likely to contain lead-based paint. Low-income homeowners or renters in the Enterprise Community Areas with children under age six are eligible for the lead hazard reduction services, to include replacing siding, windows, doors and porches.
Lead is a highly toxic metal that may cause a range of health problems, especially in young children. When lead is absorbed into the body, it can cause damage to the brain and other vital organs, like the kidneys, nerves and blood.
The city and its participating nonprofit partners will be required to put up matching funds equal to 25 percent of the total grant. If awarded, lead removal will begin in the fall and be carried out over three years.
Akron last participated in the grant program in 2003.
Each year HUD's Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control awards roughly 12 grants per year to eligible cities, states and Native American Tribes to identify and control lead-based paint hazards in eligible privately owned housing.