MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The City of Memphis was selected to receive a multi-million-dollar grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to make homes safer for many low-income families living in older homes.
City leaders say many low-income families and children across Memphis living in older homes built before 1978 possibly contain lead-based paint, a paint that can be poisonous.
“We have children and families who are being impacted by lead in their water and in their homes. We don’t want our children to have lead poisoning. It impacts their lives and education,” said Councilwoman Patrice Robinson.
But help is on the way to Memphis in the form of millions of dollars in grant money from the Department of Housing and Urban Development or HUD.
“For example, the City of Memphis will be awarded $5.7 million in the Lead Hazard Reduction Program, and they’re going to do some great work in reducing lead hazards in over 200 units,” said HUD Deputy Secretary Adrianne Todman.
WREG learned Memphis will use the Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Program money in five ways, such as supporting underserved communities, increasing affordable housing, promoting home ownership and advancing sustainable communities and strengthening HUD’s internal capacity.
About 125 homes, if not more, could be eligible for window and door replacements, siding repairs, roof replacement and addressing paint hazards.
“This is part of HUD’s mission of making sure the homes that we have are not just being preserved, but that we are also making sure that they are healthy for the children that live there,” Todman said.
City leaders say the multi-million-dollar grant is more than a game changer, but a potential life saver.
“$5 million is not chump change. We needed it. We need it even more to take a dent out of lead in Memphis,” Councilwoman Robinson said.
Altogether, HUD is awarding almost $140 million in grant money to protect families from lead poisoning nationwide.