Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Harrisburg to continue, accelerate lead abatement program with new federal grant

Uptown Harrisburg resident Joanne Chisolm spoke at a press conference today on lead abatement funding.

Harrisburg’s lead abatement efforts got a huge boost today, as the city announced a major federal grant.

In a press conference at city hall, federal, state and local officials joined together to announce that Harrisburg will receive $5 million from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Lead Based Paint Hazard Reduction grant program and $600,000 from its Healthy Homes Supplemental program.

“With the aging housing stock we have in Harrisburg, we have a lot of lead paint,” said Mayor Eric Papenfuse. “But now with the assistance of HUD, we’ll be able to move our lead abatement efforts forward for years to come.”

The funding covers five years of lead paint analysis and removal throughout the city, Papenfuse said.

The city’s program is open to residents who meet certain conditions, including income requirements. It’s been show that children who eat chipped, lead-based paint can experience learning disabilities and behavioral problems.

HUD’s Joe DeFelice, Harrisburg Building and Housing Director Franchon Dickinson and Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse pose with a ceremonial check.

HUD recently announced $319 million in funding throughout the country for its Lead Based Paint Hazard Reduction grant program and supplemental program, including $22 million for six jurisdictions throughout Pennsylvania.

Locally, besides Harrisburg’s funding, Lancaster is receiving $9.1 million through the grant program and another $600,000 through the supplemental program.

The grant marks the return of federal funds for lead abatement in Harrisburg. The city’s previous federal grant of $3.7 million expired last December. This year, Harrisburg has continued its program though a one-year, $986,245 state grant.

“The funding will enable professionals to evaluate the living conditions in the house and then address the lead hazards found there,” said Joe DeFelice, HUD’s Mid-Atlantic regional administrator.

Speaking at the event, city resident Joanne Chisolm said that Harrisburg’s program has allowed lead to be removed from her Uptown house, where she also runs a part-time daycare center.

She said that her house first was analyzed for lead and that, when it was discovered, she was put up in a hotel for 1½ weeks while the remediation took place, all at no cost to her.

“It was a wonderful experience,” she said. “The work was professionally done.”

Click here for more information on Harrisburg’s Lead Hazard Reduction Program.

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