The City of Harrisburg is working to connect residents with financial assistance that would help rid their homes of lead contamination.
“Ninety percent of the houses in this community were built before 1978, so, of course, many of the houses are affected by the lead,” said Susan Wilson, of the city’s Lead Safe program.
The program has helped to make hundreds of homes lead-free over the years.
At a public meeting Thursday to explain how to qualify for the program, Wilson said Harrisburg’s age and population of young children make it the perfect place for this effort.
“We’re going to do between 65 and 70 homes in this part of the grant. In our prior grant, we completed 181 homes in the city of Harrisburg,” Wilson said.
To qualify, your home must be in Harrisburg and must have been built in 1978 or before; children must be 6 years old or younger and be at the home at least six hours per week, or a total of 60 hours per year. There are also income requirements as part of the application process that differ, depending on how many people live in the home.
Federal grant money funds the Lead Safe initiative, which is all about the health and safety of children, who are often the ones most at risk of getting sick.
Exposure can affect motor skills, cause liver or kidney problems, and lead to learning disabilities.
When you apply, a risk assessment is done and then contractors are hired to do the work. While the rehabbing is underway, a family cannot be in the home, so the grant also provides money for temporary lodging.
It’s a two to three-month process, Wilson said, from applying to moving back into your home. It costs about $9,000 to $10,000 per home.
“We’re willing to even come out into your homes if you can’t come to us,” said Wilson. “I will come to you … because it is that important.”
For more information on the Lead Safe Program and to apply, click here.
Another public informational meeting will be held April 4 from 6-8 p.m. at the Camp Curtain YMCA.