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Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership, Warren to carry on with lead program

Helps removal for families with kids 6 years or younger

WARREN — The city and Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership will continue to work with a lead hazard program in Mahoning County that just received a large grant from the state to clean up properties.

The Mahoning County Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control Program received a $4.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes.

It’s to help some people with young children making renovations to the home rid it of the hazard.

But because Warren and the TNP weren’t directly awarded the funds, when Mahoning County’s grant funds are used in the city or Trumbull County, they are more restricted than in Mahoning County.

While Mahoning County can use nearly $25,000 per house to reduce lead hazards, it can only supply $7,000 for projects in Warren or done by the TNP.

In addition, applicants in Mahoning County who rent can get help, but that’s not the case in Trumbull County. They must own the home and in most cases, must be renovating their home already, likely with assistance from a city or TNP program.

In Mahoning County, if the renovation at a rental property is more than $10,000, the landlord has to help, said Phil Puryear, director of the lead hazard control program.

In all cases, the property must have a child 6 years old or younger living in it and residents must meet certain income qualifications.

Shawn Carvin, program director of the Trumbull County Land Bank at TNP, said by working with Mahoning County and the city, the TNP is able to help more families with young children get into homes without lead hazards.

“If it is just a limited abatement, like replacing doors or windows for $8,000, the city will do it. But if it will take $60,000 for a home that probably isn’t worth that much, they come to us,” Carvin said.

Over the past three or four years TNP has done about 10 full house renovations. They are in the process of completing two more and are preparing to start another in about a month, Carvin said.

When TNP does a renovation, it is often before they know who will buy it, Carvin said, so it can be difficult to get reimbursed for mitigating the lead. But in recent years, TNP and city started working together to pair families with young kids living in a lead-contaminated house with a newly renovated home, Carvin said.

The households that need help with lead are often referred after a child 6 or younger tests positive for elevated levels of lead in his / her blood.

“If the family comes to the city and is using their funding to do home renovations and it is lead contaminated, the city will determine if it is beyond repair. If abatement is not the best route, the homeowner will donate the contaminated house, move into the newly renovated one and the old house will be torn down to reduce the contaminated housing stock,” Carvin said. “If we spend $40,000 on a renovation and get $7,000 reimbursed (from Mahoning County) because we removed the lead paint for a family that qualifies, it is a good partnership.”

People can visit warren.org/housing-programs for more information.

While the city and TNP can’t help renters under this program, the state did expand other lead abatement programs.

The recently enacted state budget allocates $5 million each year through the Ohio Department of Medicaid / Ohio Department of Health for lead-hazard mitigation in residences where a Medicaid-eligible child or pregnant woman live, and simplifies the application process.

The money can be used for renters or people whoown their homes, and a requirement of financial support to use the program was eliminated. Visit odh.ohio.gov, call 1-877-532-3723 or email lead@odh.ohio.gov for more information.

Lead paint was used in homes until it was banned in 1978 and is often found around windows, walls, ceilings, doorframes, baseboards, stairs, porches and the exterior of the house.

Children under the age of 6 are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, which can result in learning problems, behavioral problems, hyperactivity, hearing loss and a lowered attention span, according to the Mahoning County Public Health District.

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