County may pursue lead-based paint abatement grant

CLINTON — The Clinton County Board of Supervisors is considering applying for a lead-based paint grant offered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Kim Glaser of the East Central Iowa Governmental Association said any home built before 1978 and especially homes built before 1940 have a high propensity to have lead-based paint because it was durable and long lasting. Older housing stock typically has an extensive amount of lead paint in it. Glaser said the older housing stock has not been maintained as well as it should have been and lead-based paint is chipping. peeling and deteriorating. Deterioration of lead-based paint causes lead poisoning in young children.

“There’s not a lot of outward symptoms of lead poisoning, per se, but it can have long, life-lasting effects to a child,” Glaser said. “It can affect their motor development and neurological development and studies have been made that actually show that children with lead poisoning as a young child have a difficult time completing school. Sometimes they’ve shown that they’re likely to be incarcerated or have difficulty in the criminal system. So there’s a lot of research. And that is why it is very highly funded.”

Glaser said once the exposure to lead paint goes away the blood’s lead levels will decline but there could be lifetime effects.

Glaser said HUD is offering up to $3 million for an entity that has never applied for the grant for lead-based paint abatement. Participating agencies are required to contribute a 10 percent match. The grant would be paid over a 42-month period. She added they also have a separate pool funds called “Healthy Homes.” A new entity could apply for $300,000 of the funding for Healthy Homes.

“That came about primarily because when we were doing lead hazard control abatement or remediation we could see there might be a significant electrical problem or moisture problem or pest problem and we didn’t have any funding to address it,” Glaser said.

Residents who utilize the program are required to move out of the residence unless it is an area that can be contained. HUD’s guideline is for residents to be out of the residence for about 10 days. She said the length of the stay depends on the residence, with large, older homes, sometimes taking longer. The grant pays for the relocation if the family does not have the means to cover the cost of the temporary relocation.

“If they don’t have family or friends to stay with we would put them up in a hotel,” Glaser said. “There’s been instances I’ve been involved in where we actually rented the relocation unit ourselves and just placed the families in there so we just shuffle families in and out of these relocation units. So we’re not leaving families with no means during that relocation period.”

Glaser recommended the county consider about $1.5 to $2 million for the grant to serve the needs of Clinton County.

Clinton County Auditor Eric Van Lancker said the board is committed to helping smaller communities improve, adding this could be another way to help the county’s smaller communities.

Board Vice Chairman Tom Determann supported pursuing the grant.

“I think we need to do it,” Determann said. “And, yeah, we need to do it for the whole county.”

The city of Clinton and city of Maquoketa are in the midst of having the lead hazard grant administered by ECIA. The total grant is $1.5 million. ECIA representative Matt Specht said they are targeting about 64 units or households for the program. The program for the cities of Clinton and Maquoketa ends in November 2020.

“So we could potentially include the city of Clinton after theirs expires and let the one they have established serve their needs until that time,” Supervisors Chairman Dan Srp said.

Applications for the 2019 round of grants are due Aug. 9. The board will consider the request at its next regular board meeting on July 18.