NEW BRITAIN —Today, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and U.S. Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) joined New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart to announce a $3.4 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to help prevent lead poisoning in New Britain. The City of New Britain will use the grant to address lead hazards in the homes of 184 low- and very low-income New Britain families and to perform healthy homes assessments in 202 additional homes.
With kids out of school and spending more time at home, there is a higher rate of lead poisoning among children during the summer. In 2013, 60,000 Connecticut children were exposed to lead, with 2,275 children poisoned by lead.
“Lead poisoning is always a danger in Connecticut, but the risk spikes in the summer, and we’ve got to do something about it. This grant will give hundreds of New Britain families much-needed peace of mind and safe homes to live in,” said Murphy. “Lead can cause serious and irreversible damage – especially to kids – and Connecticut still has thousands of old homes with lead paint and old pipes. Taking action to remove the threats now is a smart investment we can make for Connecticut families.”
Blumenthal said, “From Flint to New Britain, we have seen the danger lead poisoning poses to communities across the country, and in particular, to our nation’s children. By addressing lead hazards head-on, this critical federal grant will help ensure that New Britain children and their families are growing, playing, and learning in safe, lead-free homes.”
“Connecticut families shouldn’t have to worry about their children being poisoned by pipes or paint in their own home,” Esty said. “These grant funds will help New Britain protect potentially hundreds of children from the lifelong health impacts of lead exposure. Congress should now do its part and pass the Healthy Homes Tax Credit Act to make it easier for homeowners in Connecticut and across the country to keep their families safe.”
Mayor Stewart said, "New Britain has many homes that were built before 1978 and therefore contain dangerous lead paint. This crucial funding will go a long way in ensuring property owners have the ability to remove this toxic substance from their home so our community--especially our youth--can lead healthier lives."
“This grant award will help eliminate home-related hazards and give families new opportunities to thrive here in New Britain,” said Jim Reed, HUD New England Regional Administrator. “Housing is a critical source of stability, and HUD is committed to helping ensure that all Americans have a healthy safe place to live.”
Nearly 75% of Connecticut’s housing was built before 1980, which makes it more at risk for containing lead in paint and old pipes. Earlier this year, Murphy and Esty authored the Healthy Homes Tax Credit Act, which provides homeowners with a maximum tax credit of $5,000 to pay for lead, radon, or asbestos abatement. Blumenthal is a cosponsor of the legislation.