Saying it wants to reduce high lead levels in children, Northampton County Council Thursday night OK'd a $2.5 million federal grant application to help homeowners living with children in pre-World War II homes to pay for lead paint cleanup costs.
If approved, the application to the U.S. Housing & Urban Development Office of Lead Hazard Control and Health Homes, would be spent over the next three years from April through March 31, 2020 using existing housing programs that have matching fund requirements.
The program is designed to reduce elevated lead levels in children one to six years old in homes that have been identified as containing a lead based paint hazard.
Northampton County will be the lead agency, working in collaboration with Easton and Bethlehem; the program will provide funding to low and moderate income families in owner-occupied homes that pose lead paint risks to children in those cities.
Lead remediation is not cheap and up to 40 percent of county funds spent on affordable housing improvements have been spent on getting rid of lead paint, or roughly $8,000 out of every $20,000 spent on a single home, according to Tim Herrlinger, the director of the county's Department of Community and Economic Development.
Lead poisoning can cause severe mental and physical impairments.