Removing lead paint, a potentially deadly hazard from older homes, is about to get easier for families in the city of Norwich.
On Thursday, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Rep. Joe Courtney and Norwich Mayor Deberey Hinchey announced $2,435,124 in new federal funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The money is meant to address lead hazards in 100 housing units in Norwich.
Another $2,900,000 will be meant for 118 units in the Naugatuck Valley.
Alicia Hansen, a Norwich resident, said she's been on the waiting list for help since March. She said lead poisoning sickened a 2-year-old child who had lived in her home before her.
"It's not in our ceilings, it's not in the floors and not in the walls. But it is in places like this the old door casings, the old thresholds, the old window casings," Hansen said.
Gary Evans, the director of Community Development in Norwich, welcomed the funding, saying it will help make many homes safer for families.
"We did a number of things on the property, vinyl siding, vinyl windows. The reason windows are a priority on a lot of properties because it creates a friction surface. The reality is the paint gets in the air through dust," Evans said.
Blumenthal likened the situation to the lead pipes that caused a water crisis in Flint, MI.
"From Flint to Norwich, we have seen the danger lead poisoning poses to communities across the country, and in particular, to our nation's children," Blumenthal said. "By addressing lead hazards head-on, this critical federal grant will help ensure that Norwich children and their families are growing, playing, and learning in safe, lead-free homes."
Courtney said families need to feel safe in their homes.
"The announcement [Thursday] that Norwich will be receiving a federal grant to remove lead from local residences is great news the community," he said. "Not only will this grant funding help to protect families, it will also help revitalize Norwich's real estate market by increasing the value of older homes and provide new work for local contractors and laborers as this project gets underway."
"We want our citizens to live healthy lives and kids to grow up healthy. With this money we can include all other kinds of programs," said Norwich Mayor Deb Hinchey.
About 80 percent of the homes were built before 1978 when the lead laws finally took effect.
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