The City of Burlington is receiving a $2.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to support the Burlington Lead Program, which helps remove potentially dangerous lead paint from the city’s housing stock.
The federal award, which officials say was one of 28 in the nation, will also support lead reduction efforts in the City of Winooski, but that work will be carried out by Burlington’s program staff.
“As a result of this grant, 162 homes in Burlington will be improved and made safer over the next three years,” said Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger. “This is a really big win for the community, and this is really important work.”
Officials said the Burlington Lead Program, launched in 2003, has already helped reduce lead hazards in more than 600 homes. The program offers free consultations for residents of Burlington and Winooski, and will help pay for and coordinate lead reduction work for qualifying low-income families.
Program Coordinator Jeff Tanguay said the vast majority of Burlington and Winooski homes built before 1978 have lead paint in them in some form or another.
“Burlington has about 9,000 units that were pre-1978, and Winooski has another 2,000 – 3,000,” Tanguay said inside a North Street apartment building where the program recently finished helping the owner repaint a rental property that had lead paint. “So yeah, we’ve just touched a drop in the bucket.”
Tanguay said the rate of lead poisoning in Burlington and Winooski children is slightly higher than the national average, though he said that data can be difficult to track.
Residents of either city who want more information about the program can call 802-865-LEAD to reach program staff.