Mayor Tom Barrett has announced the City of Milwaukee Health Department (MHD) has been awarded $3.9 million over the next three years to support the MHD Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program in Milwaukee. The grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), is part of more than $112 million in grants awarded to 39 local and state government agencies and research institutions to protect children and families from lead-based paint and other health and safety hazards in the home environment.
“The city of Milwaukee has made substantial progress, decreasing the prevalence of lead poisoning in children under 6 years of age from 34 percent of children to 3.3 percent,” said Mayor Tom Barrett. “This funding will ensure our ability to continue work to provide lead-safe housing in Milwaukee.”
The MHD Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program has traditionally promoted community screening and testing of children for lead poisoning and conducted inspections of residential housing units for lead-based paint hazards. Since 1997, more than 16,000 housing units have been made lead safe through MHD efforts. The current HUD funding will allow the MHD to provide approximately 700 additional lead-safe housing units primarily for low-income families and through the rehabilitation of foreclosed properties.
“In cities with older housing stock such as Milwaukee, lead poisoning remains a significant environmental health threat to children residing in or visiting properties with lead-based paint hazards,” said Commissioner of Health Bevan K. Baker. “Lead poisoning in young children has been linked to learning and behavioral problems that can affect a person’s ability to succeed and become productive later in life. Reducing lead hazards in our community is essential to the life-long health of our youngest residents.”