Reporting Edgar Linares
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Hennepin County and the City of Minneapolis has received $6.8 million in federal grants to help remove lead from thousands of homes.
Hennepin County will get $3 million in lead mitigation grants plus an additional $1.9 million to reduce health and safety hazards in homes.
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said hundreds of children attend schools with elevated lead levels every day.
Minneapolis received $1.9 million to reduce health and safety hazards. The funding came from the federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Department’s Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control agency. An estimated 365 homes will be made lead-safe because of the federal grants.
NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Edgar Linares Reports
Hennepin County has the highest number of children with elevated levels of lead; the county estimates the number is between 600 to 1,200 children under the age of six.
“It’s dramatically less than it used to be, but dramatically more than what we should accept,” Rybak said.
Experts say any home built before 1978 could have lead based paint. They say if your home was built before 1940 and has not been remodeled, it most likely has lead-based paint.
“Especially if it has original windows or wood on the outside,” said Melissa Illies of Lead Hazard Control. “Those are really common for lead-based paint hazards.”
Daniel Huff, manager of Environmental Management and Safety, said about 80 percent of homes (80,000 buildings) in Minneapolis have lead-based paint.
Lynne Kelly is one of those people with lead throughout her home. She has lived in the same house for seven years.
She never knew her family was being exposed to lead. Now her 2-year-old granddaughter has high levels of lead in her blood.
“It effects the brain, but they don’t really worry about it until it’s at level five. She’s currently at two,” Kelly said.
Anyone interested in applying for funding to have lead removed can apply on Hennepin County’s website.