MANCHESTER, NH – Manchester will be receiving $5.4 million from the Department of Housing and Urban Development for lead abatement. The funds consist of $4,668,215 from the Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration (LHRD) grant program for lead-based paint remediation and an additional $700,000 in supplemental funding from HUD’s Healthy Homes Program for addressing additional housing hazards such as mold, radon, and carbon monoxide found during lead remediation.
“Manchester has a relatively old housing stock, and lead paint hazards pose a risk to families with young children,” said Mayor Joyce Craig. “This $5.4M for lead abatement will have a significant impact on increasing the health of our community and making homes safer and more livable for generations to come.”
The Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration grant program funds the Lead Safe Manchester program in three-year increments. This program is overseen by the Department of Planning and Community Development. The grant amount reflects a 26% increase from what Manchester received in 2019.
“The Manchester Planning and Community Development Department is grateful for the award of more than $5 million to address lead and other health hazards in Manchester homes,” said Jeff Belanger, Director of Planning and Community Development. “This is the largest such award in the city’s history, and it reflects a commitment at the local and federal levels of government to increase the safety and quality of housing in Manchester. We anticipate improving 200 dwelling units with these funds, which will give 200 families safer places to live.”
Lead is highly toxic and can cause a variety of severe health problems in children, ranging from impaired brain development and hearing, higher risk of coma and even death. According to the New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services, 42,057, or 50 percent of Granite State children, reside in housing units built before the 1978 ban on lead in residential paint, which increases their risk of exposure.
Property owners of homes built in 1978 and earlier who rent to low-to-moderate income renters will likely qualify for the Lead Safe Manchester program. Properties where a child was found with an elevated blood lead level, or which received a state order of lead hazard reduction, will receive highest enrollment priority. Properties where no children under age 6 live should call to inquire about program status before completing the entire program application. Owner-occupied units must have children under age 6 living in or visiting the home to qualify.
Children 6 years old and younger and pregnant people are most at-risk for complications and severe health problems due to lead exposure. The Manchester Health Department offers free first-time lead screenings for children 6 years old and younger by appointment.
“Lead poisoning is an entirely preventable tragedy that dramatically impacts a child’s health and ability to learn,” said U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH. “This funding will help families in Manchester protect their children from lead poisoning and exposure to other hazardous contaminants in their homes. Particularly in many of our neighborhoods with older housing stock, it is critical to identify and remediate housing units with potential lead-based paint to ensure our kids can grow up healthy.”
“Granite Staters and their families deserve a safe and healthy place to call home. However, in many older homes, lead-based paint can be a serious threat to the health and well-being of children,” said Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-NH. “The federal funds headed to Manchester will help identify homes at risk for lead exposure and other health hazards, helping build on our promise of a healthier, stronger New Hampshire.”
“The health of our children is of the utmost importance, and we must be vigilant in our efforts to protect them from lead and other hazardous materials,” said U.S. Congressman Chris Pappas. “These funds will identify lead-based paint hazards so that they can be properly remediated and ensure that children in Manchester grow up healthy and safe. Moving forward I will continue to fight for funding to remediate lead and similar health hazards to protect children and families at risk of exposure.”