Blair seeks funds for lead removal

HOLLIDAYSBURG — Blair County is applying for a grant of $382,500 to continue an effort that started this year to properly remove lead-based paint from residences.

Commissioners recently approved the submission of the Healthy Homes Grant Application to the state Department of Health which, if awarded, would put the county in a position to address as many as 30 residences over a three-year period.

“We should know by mid-September if we’re going to be awarded that grant,” said Rebecca Christ, Blair County director of social services community development specialist. “But we do have lead-removal money available now too.”

The county previously received $85,750 to use toward addressing residential lead hazards that have been identified as the cause of severe health issues linked to of lead poisoning.

Altoona children, based on a survey by the state Department of Health, show a higher lead exposure rate than children in other Pennsylvania cities, possibly because Altoona has more older housing units. The use of lead-based paint was common in the years prior to 1978 when the government banned its use.

Those interested in learning more about the grant program and the possible removal of lead-based paint should contact the county’s Department of Social Services at 693-3023.

The $85,750 grant was estimated at covering the abatement cost of five residences through the end of this year.

If the $382,500 grant is awarded, Christ said, then the department will be able to help even more people in the future.