Grant aims to get rid of lead-hazards in Mid-South homes

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The federal government has awarded Memphis with a grant the city said not only helps make the city healthier, but provides jobs.

A $3.7 million grant will be implemented over three years to reduce lead-hazards in homes.

Homes built before 1978 were commonly painted with lead based paint.

Lead can cause permanent brain damage and damage to other organs, especially to children.

The city hopes to remove lead from 240 houses in 12 targeted zip codes.

"I'm very happy about it," said Janice Taylor.

Taylor has been running Joshua's Learning Tree, a daycare off Lamar in South Memphis for years.

Soon a sign in front of her building, warning of possible lead will be removed after she coordinated with the city to help rid the building of lead.

"It made us be more involved with the community, with our parents," explained Taylor.

The city of Memphis has been helping renters and homeowners rid their homes of lead since 1995, but Tuesday the city announced they solidified another $3.7 million to help a few hundred more.

Marticus Muhammad is the program manager for the city's Lead Paint Department.

He said what's different about this grant is if workers notice other small problems in the home they can also help fix those issues.

"We have not had the opportunity to deal with those hazards, but now we have a little money that we can deal with small minimum hazards," he explained.

Multiple windows and a door were replaced at Taylor's daycare.

The outside of the building and the shutters were also painted.

Mayor Wharton said in addition to cleaning up toxins, the grant also provided jobs.

"Which will create employment opportunities for 85 individuals," he said at Tuesday's news conference.

Muhammad believed if lead is removed now it will reduce problems down the road.

"In the areas that are hardest hit with crime and learning disabilities are some of the areas where lead is found," he said.

In order to qualify for the grant, houses must've been built before 1978 and be home to children younger than 6-years-old

If you are interested in applying for the Lead-Safe Program or would like to know how you can get a free inspection you can call 901-576-7325 or 901-576-7335.

The 12 targeted zip codes are: 38103, 38104, 38105, 38108, 38112, 38116, 38117, 38118, 38119, 38126, 38128 and 38141.

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