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Fort Wayne receives $3.2 million to fight lead-paint threat

Chips of lead paint can pose a health hazard. (News-Sentinel.com file photo)

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Fort Wayne’s Office of Housing and Neighborhood Services has been awarded a $3.2 million grant to remediate lead paint in older homes. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as part of a total $139 million granted to state and local governments across the country. Fort Wayne received the largest grant amount in Indiana, with South Bend and Michigan City both earning awards of $2.3 million.

The money will be used to remediate lead paint in approximately 140 Fort Wayne homes in high-risk census tracts, or areas with older homes and high levels of children living in poverty. City staff estimates approximately 67,000 Fort Wayne homes were built before 1978 and could therefore contain lead hazards. This represents 66 percent of the city’s housing stock.

“These resources will go a long way in helping protect Fort Wayne’s children from the dangers of lead poisoning,” Mayor Tom Henry said in a statement. “I applaud city staff for working proactively to make our neighborhoods safer for today’s residents and future generations.”

Lead paint can be remediated in several ways, such as replacing or repainting windows with peeling paint, which can cause lead dust to contaminate floors and toys. Walls can also be repainted, and carpet and exterior siding can be replaced. The grant will complement a recent $680,000 lead paint remediation grant the City received from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority in October. That grant will provide the resources needed to remediate lead paint in approximately 40 local homes.

Information about the dangers of lead poisoning can be found on the Allen County Health Department’s website: www.allencountyhealth.com.