Contact: Collette DuValle, 317-373-2391

Impact of $2.9 Million Community Grant Seen in Variety of Community Projects

The Marion County Health Department is continuing to invest a $2.9 million federal grant into a variety of community improvement projects aimed at single mothers and families as part of a large scale lead remediation program.

During Lead Poison Prevention Awareness Week, health officials showcased work taking place at an apartment building at 3630 North Meridian Street where $232,000 is supporting renovation of one-bedroom units. The funding is being used to replace all windows, wrapping of exterior window frames and sills, painting of interior window frames and sills and bathroom renovation.

In 2007, the health department unveiled a three-year, $2.9 million U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) lead paint elimination grant. The grant is being used by local officials to identify and eliminate lead paint in more than 380 Indianapolis homes in some of the city's neediest neighborhoods.

The Marion County Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration program will assist 389 eligible Marion County housing units. At least 115 of the housing units will be rental properties. Program eligibility requirements will include income guidelines, the presence of women who are pregnant, small children either in the home or associated with the home and confirmed lead hazards at the property.

"Lead is a toxic metal that was used for many years in and around homes, mainly in the form of paint and is a major source of lead poisoning for children and can also affect adults," said Dr. Virginia A. Caine, director, Marion County Health Department. "Through this project, we are increasing public awareness of lead-based paint and its detrimental health effects," she said. The HUD grant allows a maximum of $8,000 being spent, per unit, on lead remediation.

The health department and city are working with the target areas and partnering community organizations, including: Community Action of Greater Indianapolis (CAGI), Southeast Neighborhood Development Corporation (SEND), West Indianapolis Development Corporation (WIDC) and Riley Area Development Corporation for homeowner repair services.

"To date, through effective partnerships with property owners, CAGI, SEND, WIDC and Riley, we have made close to 80 housing units safe and affordable for families," said Karla Johnson, administrator, Marion County Health Department Lead Safe and Healthy Homes program.

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