May 30, 2015 2:12 PM
$3.4M grant will help Nashua get the lead out of low-income housing
NASHUA – A $3.4 million federal grant will allow the city to test for and clean up lead paint in at least 170 additional low-income housing units in Nashua.
The Nashua Telegraph reports that the grant was accepted by aldermen last week. It is the third and largest of the three-year lead poisoning prevention grants the city has received through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, according to Carrie Schena of the city’s urban programs department.
Two prior grants led to the clean up of 280 units in the city thus far. Lead is highly toxic, particularly for children who can suffer permanent emotional and intellectual impairments as a result of exposure. In high enough doses, it can cause a coma, convulsions and death.
To qualify for funding, a housing unit must be privately-owned and occupied by a low-income family. Owners can qualify for grants if they meet the income requirements, Schena said. The grants are capped at $9,500 per unit, she said.
Nashua is one of five communities in New Hampshire identified as high risk for lead poisoning due to its demographics, age of housing stock and number of low-income residents, Schena said.
The most common source of lead exposure for children is lead paint in older housing and the contaminated dust and soil it generates, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.
New Hampshire has the oldest housing of anywhere in the United States with 62 percent of homes built before lead-based paint was banned in 1978, the state reported.