June recap

Council Bluffs City Council members, from left, Melissa Head, Roger Sandau and Nate Watson, Mayor Matt Walsh, and council members Sharon White and Mike Wolf.

COUNCIL BLUFFS — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded $2.3 million to the City of Council Bluffs for programs to protect children and families from lead-based paint and other home health hazards.

The funding includes $2 million through the department’s Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction program, along with $300,000 through the Healthy Homes Supplemental funding program, according to information provided by the department’s Office of Public Affairs.

The grant was part of $139 million in HUD grants to 48 state and local government agencies.

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HUD Secretary Ben Carson announced the grant funding at an event with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services unveiling the Federal Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposure.

The plan is a blueprint for reducing lead exposure through collaboration among federal agencies, according to HUD.

The grants are provided through HUD’s Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control, Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction and Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration programs to identify and clean up dangerous lead in low-income housing.

The $139 million in grants nationwide includes almost $18 million through HUD’s Healthy Homes Supplemental funding program to help communities address housing-related health and safety hazards unrelated to lead-based paint.

Council Bluffs Community Development Director Brandon Garrett credited Courtney Harter, Lora Flom and Brenda Carrico in his office for spearheading the grant application effort.

“Their work is inspiring to me,” Garrett told the City Council last month. “This was not required of them. They found this on their own, and it’s a big deal for the City of Council Bluffs.”

Carrico said the city plans to cover about 100 buildings over a 42-month period under the Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction program.

“This will be applicable to households with children under 6,” she said. “That will be for abating lead paint hazards in homes, rentals and owner-occupied units.”

Carrico said Pottawattamie County is one of 27 counties in Iowa without a childhood lead poisoning prevention program.

The grant money will now serve the same purpose.

Carrico said that under the Healthy Homes Supplemental funding program, the city will “look at things like radon, electrical hazards and carbon monoxide problems.”

The city will target about 92 homes.

“It was a lot of work,” Carrico told the council about the grant application process, saying that now that the grants have been received and the city will be putting them to use: “It’s going to be a lot of work.”

The department said the nationwide investments will protect families and children by targeting health hazards in about 6,500 low-income homes.

“We take another important step toward creating safer and healthier homes for families and their children,” Carson said in a press release. “At HUD, one of our most important missions is to provide people with safe and reliable housing, and these grants will help states and local communities eliminate lead-based paint and other health hazards from low-income homes.”

Other grants include a total of $3.1 million to the City of Omaha, along with more than $11 million spread among the Cities of Sioux City, Marshalltown and Dubuque, Iowa.

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