Why Allegheny County is the only place in Pennsylvania getting latest round of lead paint removal funding

    Allegheny County is getting $3.4 million to remove lead paint for 200 homes. (Photo via ShutterStock)

    Allegheny County is getting $3.4 million to remove lead paint for 200 homes. (Photo via ShutterStock)

    Well, to start, no other Pennsylvania cities or counties applied for the grant.

    The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is giving local and state governments $46.5 million in grants to get lead out of people’s homes. The funding comes through the Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration grant program. 

    In Pennsylvania, Allegheny County is getting a slice of that funding: a $3.4 million grant that it’ll use to remove lead paint from 200 homes.

    The county has hundreds of thousands of housing units built before lead paint was banned in the 1970s. Also, many of its children have tested with blood lead levels above federal limits. But why did only Allegheny County get this money when lots of Pennsylvania homes still have lead? 

    “We put together an excellent grant application,” says Cassandra Collinge,the county’s assistant director of housing and human services. She also said the county has a strong team and “a track record of delivering and implementing programs.”

    While that can’t hurt, there’s another reason: no other Pennsylvania cities or counties applied for the grant.

    For some, that may be because they didn’t qualify. Among other things, the grant program requires that a city or county have at least 3,500 occupied rental units built before 1940 in the area where the lead paint removal would be done. 

    Or Pennsylvania’s other local governments may have applied for funding through a different program, instead. HUD also gives out funding for lead paint removal through its Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control (LBPHC) Program. The program typically gets more applications than the one Allegheny County is now part of — possibly because it doesn’t ask local governments to contribute as much of their own funding to the project.

    Governments can’t apply to both programs. 

    HUD hasn’t announced the recipients of the LBPHC program yet and wouldn’t say whether any applications came from Pennsylvania. 

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