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Allegheny County finding few takers for free lead removal program |

Allegheny County finding few takers for free lead removal program

Only 25 homes in Allegheny County have been approved to receive free lead remediation services during the first eight months of a federal grant intended to help low-income residents of 175 homes.

The Allegheny Lead Safe Homes Program, which the county launched in April, is funded mostly by a $3.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Since the program opened in April, the county has received 250 inquiries, said Amie Downs, county spokeswoman. Of those, 44 have attended an intake meeting and 25 have been accepted.

“We’ve been sending out the information and including it in all our referrals, and still the volume of people who are actually wanting to use those services remains low,” Dr. Karen Hacker, director of the Allegheny County Health Department, said during a news conference announcing a lead task force report . “Pretty much every community we spoke with (on the lead task force) that was doing high levels of actual remediation was doing it through HUD grants they had received. So here we have one, and if we don’t use it, we’re not likely to get another one.”

The program will end when 175 residences have received the improvements or by January 2020, Downs said.

About 89 percent of houses in the county were built before 1978, when the federal government banned lead paint, according to county data.

To qualify, families must meet HUD’s income requirements, have a pregnant woman or child younger than 6 in the home and live in a residence built before 1978. Properties where a child younger than 6 spends a significant amount of time also qualify.

The program is open to homeowners and renters.

Applicants who are chosen will get lead paint inspections. If lead is found, the county will hire contractors to remove it. The work could include repainting and replacement of windows, doors, linoleum and carpet flooring.

To apply, call ACTION-Housing at 412-227-5700 or email [email protected] .

More information is available at .

Theresa Clift is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-5669, [email protected] or via Twitter @tclift.

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Allegheny County Health Department Director Dr. Karen Hacker announces the findings of a county lead task force on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017.
Theresa Clift
Allegheny County Health Department Director Dr. Karen Hacker announces the findings of a county lead task force on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017.
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