At one time, almost 38 percent of Milwaukee children suffered from exposure to the toxic metal lead. That number has dropped to around 3 percent but that is still too much. So the City of Milwaukee Health Department and Social Development Commission are partnering on a new effort to decrease that number even more.
A formal announcement was made by the two agencies and the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development for a grant that will support a three year effort to treat housing with old lead-based paint that could be contaminating Milwaukee’s children. The $3 million dollar grant will identify and treat those contaminated by the lead paint as well as provide more public outreach and education on the problem.
SDC CEO Deborah Blanks stated the agency is committed to reducing the number of children exposed to lead and thanked HUD and the City for partnering with SDC in the new program. Paul Biedrzycki of the City Health Department stressed the importance of the collaboration that will cut down on a very serious health risk to young children.
John Feliciano addressed the news conference to describe his family’s experience with exposure to lead and thanked the program partners for helping families like his around the City. His six year old son Evan later had his blood tested for possible exposure to lead to illustrate how simple the test can be.
The Lead Hazard Reduction Assistance Program operated by SDC in partnership with the City of Milwaukee and other agencies, will begin operation this summer in targeted areas on both the city’s south and north sides.
Residents interested in learning more about the program and seeing if they pre-qualify for it can learn more by visiting the SDC program website at http://www.cr-sdc.org/Lead.htm or by calling 414-344-9010.