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Grand Rapids gets grant to help rid homes of lead paint

Jul 21, 2016

Some Grand Rapids homes are about to get a lot safer.

The city is among 23 state and local agencies across the country to receive Lead Based Paint Hazard Control grants from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Lead paint has been banned from use in housing since 1978, but it's still on the walls and woodwork in many older Michigan homes.

"It was marketed as 'the good paint', so if you cared about your home, then you used it," said Doug Stek, who directs hazard control projects for the City of Grand Rapids.

Now, it's widely known that lead exposure poses a health major risk, especially for children.

"The paint gets old and it chips, peels, scrapes, falls off. It gets onto the floors and children, particularly [ages] one and two, are crawling around on that," Stek said.

Stek says most of the $2.9 million grant awarded to Grand Rapids will go go toward lead mitigation for 150 low-income homes.

The grant could also mean jobs for some. Stek says the city will need to hire more than 100 contractors to assist with the effort.