Senator Collins, HUD Administrator, Local Officials Announce Nearly $15M to Reduce Lead Hazards in Maine

These grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will provide safer homes for more than 750 families in Biddeford, Lewiston, and Portland.

Biddeford, ME — U.S. Senator Susan Collins, the Chairman of the Housing Appropriations Subcommittee, participated in a press conference at Biddeford City Hall today announcing $14,811,466 to support lead abatement projects by the City of Biddeford, the City of Lewiston, the City of Portland, and the Maine State Housing Authority.  This funding, which was awarded through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), will help protect Maine children and families from lead-based paint and home health hazards.

 

The press conference was also attended by HUD New England Regional Administrator David Tille, Biddeford Mayor Alan Casavant, Lewiston Mayor Kristen Cloutier, Maine State Housing Director Daniel Brennan, Portland City Councilor Jill Duson, and University of New England President James Herbert.

 

“Lead poisoning poses a severe threat to human health, especially to children and pregnant women,” said Senator Collins.  “Since I have been Chairman of the Housing Appropriations Subcommittee, we have increased funding for Lead Hazard Control by 163 percent.  Lead poisoning is a preventable health problem, and we are making progress.  These grants are a significant step forward in our efforts to eradicate this health threat.”

 

“In an older city like Biddeford, lead abatement is essential to good public health,” said Biddeford Mayor Casavant.  “The award of this $3.2 million grant, thanks to the efforts of Senator Collins, will go a long way to protecting our children and residents.”

 

"Approximately 68% of the housing in downtown Lewiston was built before 1940, making it more likely to have lead paint hazards,” said Lewiston Mayor Cloutier.  “The federal government has been a critical partner in our efforts to combat this public health hazard, awarding the city a total of $14.6 million in grant funds since 2002 to make our housing stock lead-safe, and to educate residents on how to protect their children from the hazards of lead paint.  That funding is making a real difference both in the safety of our housing, and people's awareness of the hazards.  We are thankful to Senator Collins for being such a strong advocate for lead poisoning prevention efforts and remediation in our community."

 

“It’s important to remember that like other issues related to housing safety and affordability, our state’s problems with lead are solvable. We are grateful for this funding and are excited to continue to commit ourselves to lead remediation efforts across the state, and to working closely with our partners at the federal and local level to make sure Mainers’ homes are safe,” said Maine State Housing Director Daniel Brennan.

 

The funding is allocated as follows:

 

·         The City of Lewiston will be awarded $4,606,649 in Lead Based Paint Hazard Reduction grant program funding and $600,000 in Healthy Homes Supplemental funding. The City will address lead hazards in 280 housing units providing safer homes for low and very low-income families with children. The City will also perform healthy homes assessments in 250 units, and work with other medical and social service providers.

 

·         The City of Portland will be awarded $2,038,041 in Lead Based Paint Hazard Reduction grant program funding and $503,655 in Healthy Homes Supplemental funding. The City will address lead hazards in 100 housing units providing safer homes for low and very low-income families with children. The City will also perform healthy homes assessments in 100 units, and work with other medical and social service providers.

 

·         The Maine State Housing Authority will be awarded $3,218,377 in Lead Based Paint Hazard Reduction grant program funding and $600,000 in Healthy Homes Supplemental funding. The Authority will address lead hazards in 240 housing units providing safer homes for low and very low-income families with children. The Authority will also perform healthy homes assessments in 180 units, and work with other medical and social service providers.

 

·         The City of Biddeford will be awarded $2,948,144 in Lead Based Paint Hazard Reduction grant program funding and $298,600 in Healthy Homes Supplemental funding. The City will address lead hazards in 135 housing units providing safer homes for low and very low-income families with children. The City will also perform healthy homes assessments in 130 units, and work with other medical and social service providers.

 

Last month, the Appropriations Committee advanced Senator Collins’ fiscal year 2020 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development funding bill, which includes $290 million to combat lead hazards, $11 million above last year’s level. 

 

In March, Senator Collins hosted Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson in Lewiston to see firsthand how federal housing programs are improving the health, safety, and overall wellbeing of Mainers and strengthening local communities.