About eighty-five percent of homes in the city of Dubuque are effected by the dangers that pertain to lead poisoning. However, a generous grant of $3.6 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Development (HUD) was awarded to combat this current issue.
Sharon Gaul, Dubuque Housing Grant Administrator, explains, “We do have the oldest housing stock in Dubuque and still have a lot of properties that are still in need of lead abatement.”
“Dubuque is known as one of the oldest cities in Iowa and houses that are built before 1978 have the possibility to carry lead based paint hazards. ” says Gaul.
HUD administered a total of $139 million to forty-eight cities across the nation that are experiencing lead based paint poisoning and other safety hazards within the home. Dubuque was one of those cities chosen to receive a portion of the funds, primarily due to the historic age of many homes and increased number of lead based paint homes compared to other cities.
Gaul explains, “This grant is going be used to reduce the amount of lead and other safety hazards found in one-hundred twenty units in Dubuque. Any unit that was built before 1978 is eligible to apply for a portion of this grant. However, we do not have any staff at this point because everything was pushed back by the government shutdown recently. We expect to have a start up date around late Spring of 2019.”
Lead is a highly toxic metal that causes a range of health problems, especially in young children. According to HUD.gov when lead is absorbed into the body it causes damages to the brain and other vital organs. Children are the most susceptible to lead paint hazards from putting their hands or other lead contaminated objects in their mouth, eating paint chips found in homes or playing in lead-contaminated soil.
“We certainly ask people to have children under the age of six to get their blood levels tested and it is really critical to keep the lead paint hazards out of the child. So we have a big amount of work to do and encourage people to research the topic.” Sharon Gaul
While families are still being effected by this occurring issue, Sharon with the help of the cities community and development team are determined to take on one-hundred twenty units that have experienced the dangers of lead based paint here in Dubuque.
To see if your home is effected by lead based paint go to https://www.cityofdubuque.org/803/Lead-Hazard-Control for more information.