Few taking advantage of lead paint abatement program in Lancaster

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Jul 12, 2017 1:03 PM

(Harrisburg) -- A midstate county has more than a half million dollars in federal money to spend on removing lead from houses or apartments.

But Lancaster County has had trouble finding takers.

The federal grant - worth $615,000 - has to be used for lead abatement in Lancaster County.

But, property owners aren't stepping up to claim some of the money.

Grants worth up to $9,000 are available for low or moderate income people.

Marisol Torres, Lancaster City's Housing and Economic Development administrator, says she's worked to get the word out -- talking to the Spanish radio station, visiting with social service agencies, and speaking with the Lancaster newspaper.

She says since landlords have to pay 20 percent of the lead removal project cost, they may be holding off on applying.

"Well, I think some of it has to do with the cost. We have a maximum amount of funds that we can spend. If the amount of remediation is over that, then the landlord or owners is responsible in paying that difference," says Torres.

Torres says despite the slow start, she's confident Lancaster will find enough property owners to spend the entire grant by the January 2019 deadline.

"People need to understand the hazards of lead and how quickly a child can become sick. And so we want to get ahead of that and be kind of more proactive as opposed to reactive," she adds.

Any rental units that are cleaned up through the program must be marketed to low-income families, especially those with young children, for the next five years.

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