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City of Covington attacks lead-based paint; new $1.66 million program accepting applications

The City of Covington is looking for old homes where lead-based paint is making children sick or has the potential to do so.

Covington has a large number of housing units at risk for lead poisoning, based on the age of the paint and the condition of the house.

The City wants to identify the homes, so it can remove the threat.

The homes would be candidates for Covington’s first-ever Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Program, for which the City received $1.66 million from the federal government.

“We’ve spent months writing guidelines and preparing to roll out this program, and now we’re ready to go,” said Jeremy Wallace, the City’s Federal Grants Manager.

Having briefed the Covington City Commission on the program Tuesday night, the City is seeking applications from specific addresses. The application packet and program guidelines can be found online HERE or picked up at City Hall (20 West Pike St.). For more information or help filling out the application, call the Neighborhood Services Department at (859) 292-2323.

Wallace told the Commission that the City expected to be able to “fix” about 58 homes or apartments over the program’s three years.

An inspector will test the premises for lead. If lead is found, contractors will be hired to either remove and replace the lead-painted part of the house (such as plaster, baseboards, windows and doors, and other trim pieces); remove the paint from it; or enclose/encapsulate the paint. The “fix” would generally take 10 days or less.

Congress outlawed the use of lead-based paint in homes in 1978 after researchers and health professionals determined that breathing its dust or swallowing tiny chips of paint could cause an array of health problems, especially in young children. These include damage to the brain and other vital organs, like the kidneys, blood, and nerves.

The City is working with the Northern Kentucky Health Department to identify residences where kids are already suffering from lead poisoning, and those will be given top priority, Wallace said.

Eligible properties include owner-occupied homes, rental units and vacant units. All units must be located in Covington and have been built before 1978.

Full program eligibility is outlined in the program guidelines, but other requirements for owner-occupied homes include household income limits and that units be occupied with children under 6, pregnant women, or children under 6 who visit frequently.

Requirements for rental units and vacant units include household income limits and that units are either occupied or made available to households with children under 6.

The application must be made by the property owner but a tenant can bring a property to the City’s attention, he said.

For outreach, marketing, and referrals, Covington officials are working with a variety of partners besides the health department, including:

• Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission.

• Kentucky Commission on Human Rights.

• Children Inc.

• The Center for Great Neighborhoods.

• Housing Opportunities of Northern Kentucky.

• The Covington Neighborhood Collaborative.

City Housing Development Specialist Archie Ice II said officials can help people fill out the application.

“Lead is a real problem, but it’s difficult to get people to understand the risks, since the symptoms of lead poisoning show up over time,” Ice said. “If you take these steps now, your children won’t be put at risk.”

The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Covington is the only local government in Kentucky to be awarded money.

City of Covington

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