A federally funded program to remove lead paint from houses is now free for eligible homeowners in Grand Rapids.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development gave the city a grant of nearly $3 million for the next three years to safely remove lead paint.
One ZIP code in Grand Rapids (49507) has more children with lead poisoning than anywhere else in the state. The Get the Lead Out program hopes to fix that.
Paul Haan, Executive Director of the Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan, says it is important to get lead out of homes before kids are exposed.
“Because if we wait to identify a lead-poisoned child and then get it out of the house the damage has already been done,” Haan said.
The program is available to homeowners, renters, and landlords. Haan says the goal is to remove lead from about 150 homes in three years.
Haan says it takes between four and six months to finish cleaning one home.
“Certainly if there's a lead-poisoned child in the home, we're going to do everything we can to expedite that process to try and get that child into safe housing as soon as possible,” he said.
Lead paint is found most commonly in homes built before 1978. Lead exposure can cause lifelong health issues.