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TDEC Receives $4.5 Million Grant for Lead-Based Paint Initiative in North Nashville

Thursday, April 07, 2011 | 11:39am
Local Campaign Kicks Off, Helping Homes in North Nashville Become Safer, Healthier Environments
 
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau was joined by local elected officials, community leaders and special guests on Thursday, April 7, to accept a $4.5 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to fund lead-based paint initiatives in the North Nashville community. The event also marked the kickoff of a community outreach campaign, designed to solicit participation in the program and educate families on the hazards of lead-based paint.
 
Designed to protect children and families, the $4.5 million Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration grant will assist the North Nashville community in identifying and controlling these particular hazards, with an emphasis on improving safety. TDEC’s Toxic Substances Program will administer the grant and launch outreach activities in partnership with several government and community organizations. 
 
“This grant will help the North Nashville community remove harmful lead paint from impacted homes and provide the tools needed to ensure families are not at risk,” said Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau. “Protecting the health of Tennessee’s children is important to Governor Bill Haslam’s administration, and I am pleased to be part of an agency that will help foster this effort. I want to thank everyone who came out in support of today’s event to help us celebrate this outstanding news.” 
 
While there are approximately 4,000 potential homes identified in Davidson County, the grant funding is targeted for use in the North Nashville area for the next 3.5 years.   North Nashville was chosen after meeting specific grant criteria including: number of rental properties, area income, children under the age of six, known lead-blood issues in children and other statistical data.
 
The project estimates mitigating lead hazards in more than 242 residential units; conducting approximately 4,800 blood-lead tests of children younger than six years of age; providing lead-safe training and job readiness opportunities to 545 eligible area residents; and increasing public awareness about childhood lead poisoning. 
 
"This HUD grant award to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation for the city of Nashville makes it clear that healthy homes for families and children are a priority,” said HUD Nashville Field Office Director John Gemmill, who presented the check at Thursday’s presentation. “We congratulate them for supporting this extremely essential effort, as we are committed to protecting children and families from these hazards.” 
 
Even though lead-based paint was banned for residential use in 1978, HUD estimates that approximately 24 million homes still have significant lead-based paint hazards today.  Lead-contaminated dust is the primary cause of lead exposure and can lead to a variety of health problems in young children, including reduced IQ, learning disabilities, developmental delays, reduced height and impaired hearing.  At higher levels, lead can damage a child's kidneys and central nervous system and cause anemia, coma convulsions and even death.
 
According to HUD officials, to receive funding through its Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration grant program involves a highly competitive process. TDEC’s Toxic Substances Program worked tirelessly to secure the necessary funding that ultimately will provide safer homes for families and children. 
 
“You can’t be healthy if your home is sick and based on our own research, there are just far too many homes in the North Nashville community that are eligible for this program,” said Adrianne White, program manager of TDEC’s Toxic Substances Program. “We need everyone’s help in getting the word out to local citizens about the program’s benefits to encourage participation.” 
 
White added that obtaining the HUD grant was a collaborative effort between TDEC and numerous community partners. Partners playing a key role in the proposal included Core Development Services, the Tennessee Board of Regents / Nashville Tech Center, Nashville Electric Service, Fifteenth Avenue Baptist Community Development Corporation, Phase One Consultants, the University of Tennessee, and the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development. 
 
“I am extremely proud of the work we accomplished in obtaining this grant and appreciate the dedication our staff and community partners put forth in making this funding a reality,” White said. 
 
As part of the community outreach campaign, billboards, educational literature and other outreach tools will encourage concerned local citizens throughout the North Nashville community to contact TDEC’s Lead-Safe Tennessee toll-free hotline at 1-855-511-1210 or via e-mail at LeadSafe.TN@tn.gov. The outreach campaign will help identify and choose actual properties in the North Nashville statistical area that are eligible for improvements. To learn more about the Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration grant program and outreach campaign, please visit www.tn.gov/environment/leadsafetn.
 
The $4.5 million Tennessee grant represents one of the larger grants awarded by the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban development for 48 projects across the United States. The grant funding will clean up lead and other health hazards in more than 11,000 homes across the country. A complete project-by-project summary of the programs awarded grants can be found on HUD’s website
 
While TDEC will serve as the official grant recipient, homes that undergo improvements will serve as sub-grantees. As the grant administrator, TDEC will provide oversight for this effort. One Request for Proposal will be released, which will serve as a call for contractors who must be certified to conduct this type of work. 
 
TDEC’s Toxic Substances Program works to protect the people of Tennessee from environmental and health hazards caused by three toxic substances: lead, asbestos and polychlorinated bi-phenyls. To learn more about the Toxic Substances Program, please visit http://tn.gov/environment/swm/toxicsubstancesprg/.
 
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