Special to The Journal
HUD funding helps to protect Lynn children from dangers of lead
U.S. Housing and Urban Development Development Regional Administrator David Tille joined Congressman Seth Moulton, and Lynn Mayor Thomas M. McGee to tour a home at 18 Jefferson St. owned by Richard Gaivin, which recently completed lead remediation work utilizing HUD Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control grant funding that the city received.
The City of Lynn was recently awarded $9.3 million in HUD Lead-Based Hazard Control grant funding which includes $600,000 in Healthy Homes Supplemental funding. The city will use this funding to continue their lead abatement program and address lead hazards in 400 housing units providing safer homes for low and very low-income families with children.
The city, through its partner, Lynn Housing Authority and Neighborhood Development, led by Executive Director Charles Gaeta, will work with Neighborhood Development Associates, Inc., Lynn Economic Opportunity, the Highlands Coalition, and MAPC.
Jeffrey Weeden, planning and development specialist at LHAND, said it was the fifth Lead Abatement grant in the past 10 years that Lynn has received from HUD. LHAND has used those grants to clear 600 housing units making them safe for more than 350 children.
“The success of that program is a large reason for our recent award,” said Weeden. “The City of Lynn is one of seven communities to receive a record amount of over $9 million in the competitive high-impact neighborhood category. The other communities are notably larger – they are Houston, Detroit, Baltimore, Cleveland, Lancaster (Penn.) and the state of Rhode Island.
“The home [at 18 Jefferson St.] was built in 1910 and contained numerous lead hazards,” said Weeden. “The de-leading contractor received a letter of compliance and the family only had to be out of the house for a few days while the program was able to fund their safe relocation. This is a typical success story that our program is happy to be a part of and hope to highlight in the future.”
Mayor McGee said, “It’s really exciting to have this $9.3 million Lead Abatement Hazard Reduction for Healthy Homes funding being awarded to the City of Lynn. LHAND, Executive Director Charles Gaeta, and his team do great work for the city every day. LHAND administers the lead abatement program and as Jeff said, it’s been such a success for this community.”
McGee also credited Cong. Moulton for his efforts on behalf of the city.
“I think a lot of Americans don’t understand just how many kids are hurt for the rest of their lives because they ingest a little of bit of lead paint when they’re young – it’s a massive problem,” said Moulton. “Some studies have shown that there’s almost nothing better we can do for young kids in America than simply get lead paint out of homes.
“And the fact that the City of Lynn is leading on this – competitive with the entire state of Rhode Island, with Baltimore, and Detroit – Charlie and Jeff and the whole Lynn team under the leadership of Mayor McGee, that is something to be proud of,” continued Moulton. “Because this is competitive, to say that Lynn is on the rise, it doesn’t happen on its own – you have to beat out other cities and communities for resources and it’s because you have a great team in Lynn that you’re able to do that. We’re just glad to help out on the federal level and be a part of it. Thank you very much for truly making a difference in the lives of kids.”
Tille thanked Cong. Moulton, Mayor McGee, the LHAND team, and the Lynn delegation “for their outstanding work in using HUD funds to make Lynn homes safe.”
State Reps. Dan Cahill and Peter Capano thanked HUD and LHAND for their efforts in making homes safer in Lynn.
Lead poisoning is the No. 1 environmental threat to children and according to state statistics, the primary source of childhood lead poisoning in Massachusetts is from exposure to lead paint and dust in homes built before 1978. In Lynn, 88 percent of the housing stock was built before 1978, according to date from the 2010-1014 American Community Survey.
(Information from a HUD media advisory was used in the compilation of this story).