City gets $1.37M to target lead-based paint

Posted By

Covington has a large number of housing units at risk for lead poisoning, based on the age of the paint and the condition of the house.


COVINGTON, Ky. - The City of Covington has won a $1.374 million grant that will fund a program later this year to protect children from lead-based paint in older homes.

The money comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Program, and Covington is the only local government in Kentucky to be awarded money after the competitive application process.
The City expects to receive the funds by March 31 and begin implementing a program later this summer, said Jeremy Wallace, the City’s Federal Grants Manager.
Congress outlawed the use of lead-based paint in homes in 1978 after researchers and health professionals determined that breathing its dust or swallowing tiny chips of paint could cause an array of health problems, especially in young children. These include damage to the brain and other vital organs, like the kidneys, blood, and nerves.
“It’s a big problem in Covington because we have so many older homes, because some of them are in bad condition, with the paint chipping and peeling, and because we have a large number of children in low-income households living in such homes,” said Wallace, who oversees the federal Community Development Block Grant and HOME programs in Covington.
Various departments and offices in City government will work with seven outside partners to first identify houses and rental units where children are already suffering from lead poisoning, based on elevated blood levels, and to assess other homes at high risk for the presence of lead-based paint.
Contractors will be hired to either remove and replace the lead-painted part of the house (such as plaster, baseboards, windowsills, and doors); remove the paint from it; or enclose/encapsulate the paint.
The cost for making any individual housing unit lead-safe is typically about $15,000 to $20,000, Wallace said.
“So along with the expenses of things like training, assessment, testing, and outreach, we estimate that we’ll be able to zero in on 45 homes during the three years of the program,” he said.
The outside partners - with whom the City will contract for outreach, marketing, and referrals - are: 
  • Northern Kentucky Health Department.
  • Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission.
  • Kentucky Commission on Human Rights.
  • Children Inc.
  • The Center for Great Neighborhoods.
  • Housing Opportunities of Northern Kentucky.
  • The Covington Neighborhood Collaborative. 
Wallace said Covington won the grant for a number of reasons, including its high risk. Using formulas that took into account factors like the age of its housing stock and the number of children under age 6 living in low-income households, HUD estimated that 1,760 housing units in Covington - or over 10 percent of those in the City - would be eligible for the program.