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County Officials Applying For $3 Million Lead Hazard Control Grant

Jeff Mitchell, Chautauqua County lead prevention team certified lead risk assessor, checking the exterior of a window for the presence of lead paint. Submitted photo

Chautauqua County is looking for funding to prevent lead poisoning in children via lead paint.

On Monday, Lisa Schmidtfrerick-Miller, Chautauqua County healthy communities consultant, discussed with the Jamestown City Council how county officials will be applying for a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Renewal for a lead hazard control grant to benefit lower income families with children. She said the grant, if received, will span over 42 months. She added that county officials estimate they will be able to remediate lead paint in 120 to 150 homes.

Schmidtfrerick-Miller said county officials will be partnering with Chautauqua Opportunities to identify the high-risk houses where children under the age of 6 live.

“The goal is to make homes lead safe,” she said.

She said the program would be available for homeowners and rental units. She said, for those that apply, if work needs to be done to the house to remove lead paint that it will only cost the applicant $500. Work would include removing windows and doors, and remediate other areas of the house where lead paint could be exposed to young children.

“Every year, 100 kids in the county are diagnosed with lead poisoning,” she said. “A significant amount live in Jamestown.”

Schmidtfrerick-Miller said the application is due by Aug. 24, with plans for county officials to submit it on Aug. 21.

She said county officials should know by the end of September or early October if they receive the grant.

“If the program is a success, we could be available for a higher level of programming down the road,” she said.

During the discussion, Schmidtfrerick-Miller was asked if the county had received this grant before and lost it. She said the previous grant period has expired and in the past they had a difficult time getting property owners and landlords to participate. She added that with the assistance of Chautauqua Opportunities and collaborating with city officials that outreach to find participants shouldn’t be an issue this time.

Schmidtfrerick-Miller also said in the past homeowners who had work done to remove lead paint had to pay 20% of the cost. With this grant, however, she said the homeowner only has to pay $500.

Brent Sheldon, Ward 1 councilman and retired county lead risk assessor, said the county has received the grant four times in the past. He said, in the past, they have had trouble getting landlords to participate. He added that shouldn’t be a problem this time because it’s not as expensive as in the past.

“It’s the best bang for the buck,” he said.

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