Congressman Eliot Engel has cosponsored legislation to reduce the threat of lead exposure and lead poisoning of children in federally-assisted housing, including NYCHA buildings.
H.R. 6252, the Lead-Safe Housing for Kids Act of 2018 is a bipartisan bill, authored by Congressman A. Donald McEachin, to update U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regulations, which are inadequate for identifying all potential lead risks. Under current HUD regulations, visual assessments are used to identify the presence of lead. But experts have noted that visual assessments fail to identify lead-based hazards found in in-tact painted surfaces, such as window sills.
To fix this glaring issue, the Lead-Safe Housing for Kids Act of 2018 would bar the use of visual assessments for low-income housing constructed prior to 1978 and require the use of a more accurate evaluation tool to identify lead hazards before a family moves in. The bill would also provide a process for families to relocate on an emergency basis, without penalty or the loss of assistance, if a lead hazard is identified in the home and the landlord fails to control the hazard. It would additionally require landlords to disclose the presence of lead if lead hazards are found in the home.
"Reports of lead paint have plagued NYCHA buildings in my district and throughout New York," Engel said. "This is a big problem for my constituents and it is not being properly addressed, due to in part to these insufficient, outdated regulations. This bill will finally empower families and keep our children safe."