Harrisburg program looking for contractors to remove lead from homes with children

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There are still a couple thousand homes in Harrisburg contaminated with lead. The Lead Safe Program is looking for more contractors to combat the problem.

“It’s a win win for me,” said Abu Jacques, a contractor who removes lead from homes in Harrisburg. “One thing I like about it is it helps low income families. It makes the housing and the property they are living in safer.”

Jacques works for the Lead Safe Program, which fixes homes built before 1978 to prevent lead poisoning in children under the age of six.

“We remove it totally, or we encapsulate it, or stabilize the paint,” said Jacques. 

The Department of Housing and Urban Development gave the city a more than $3 million grant to fund the program back in 2015.

So far with that money, 109 houses have been fixed. But the plan is to get 180 done, soon. 

Program Manager Franchon Beeks says the city needs more contractors. 

“We’re really, really encouraging dis-advantaged businesses to consider getting the information and becoming part of our qualified pool,” said Beeks.

Beeks says these contracts are a lot smaller and simpler than those given by most other municipalities. The goal is to provide the opportunity to more workers. 

You do have to be certified, which is why Beeks is holding a meeting May 7 at the Public Works Building to help people through that process. 

“I think that contractors don’t realize that they have transferable skills,” said Beeks. “If they are interested in starting their own contracting business or if they already have a contracting business, this is a good way to get started.”

Beeks says the homes of children with elevated blood levels are prioritized.

If you think you have lead in your home, click here to find out if you qualify for the program. 

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