Vermont's Congressional Delegation -- Senator Patrick Leahy (D), Senator Bernie Sanders (I) and Representative Peter Welch (D) -- and Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger Tuesday announced a U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant of $3.4 million to the Community & Economic Development Office (CEDO) for lead safety and to address home health and safety issues in low-income housing.
The CEDO Burlington Lead Program will be awarded $3 million in program funding, one of only 20 Lead-based Paint Hazard Control grant recipients in the nation. CEDO will also receive $400,000 under the Healthy Homes grant program. The funding comes from the HUD Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes, which promotes local efforts to eliminate dangerous hazards from homes, stimulate investment in lead hazard control and educate the public about the dangers of lead-based paint.
In partnership with area nonprofit groups, CEDO will perform hazard assessments and perform remediation on 160 housing units.
In a joint statement, Leahy, Sanders and Welch said: "Vermont has one of the oldest housing stocks in the nation, which makes our commitment to reducing the health hazards within our homes and community facilities a top priority. Lead, asbestos and harmful allergens have the potential to harm children and their families, and these risks are avoidable. This award will enable CEDO and its partners to continue to eliminate these risks, while raising the bar for rental housing safety and quality in our communities."
Mayor Miro Weinberger said: "In these times of reduced federal funds for solving pressing local challenges, I am especially thrilled that Burlington was chosen by HUD for funding to protect children from lead poisoning and other housing hazards. The fact that we were selected from among a large group of communities in a competitive process is recognition of the strong performance of our staff and our top-notch program that makes older homes safe for Burlingtonians. As the father of two young daughters, it is reassuring to know that the City has secured millions of additional dollars to protect Burlington children from the terrible risks of lead poisoning."
Brian Pine, assistant director for housing at CEDO, said: "This is a great day for the low-income kids of our community. This funding allows us to continue making their homes safe so they have a better chance of a healthy and prosperous future."