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Lead Safe Hamilton County will help homeowners get the lead out

A woman stands at a lectern indoors. Ten other women and men stand behind and around her.
Bill Rinehart
LISC Executive Director Kristen Baker talks about Lead Safe Hamilton County at a press conference, Thursday morning.

The Hamilton County Health Department says 80% of houses built in the United States before 1978 have some lead-based paint in them. Some of those houses in Hamilton County may be eligible for free repairs.

Hamilton County has received $5.3 million from Ohio's Lead Safe program to help. Projects in 88 counties will split a total of $95 million in state funding.

Local Initiative Support Coalition (LISC) Executive Director Kristen Baker says Lead Safe Hamilton County will pay for repairs for homeowners who qualify. Those repairs could include interior and exterior paint, new windows, new doors, and siding.

She estimates the program will help between 130 to 200 homeowners. “It’s going to depend on when we visit your home and determine what repairs are required,” Baker says. “I would encourage folks to apply as quickly as possible because this is a one time investment and the funds will be expended based on the need.”

Baker says houses must have been built before 1978. She says they might expand the program in the future to landlords, but this time, it's limited to homeowners.

Working in Neighborhoods will handle the application process. (Call 513-514-0819 or email Habitat for Humanity will oversee the work.

Baker says it's about making sure people have access to safe homes.

RELATED: Water Works using grant money to remove lead lines from homes

“We’re not just providing repairs to these homes. We’re investing in the well-being of our community and the future. This program is going to have a transformative impact on the lives of countless households, providing them with the peace of mind that comes with living in a lead safe environment.”

Sister Barbara Busch with Working in Neighborhoods agrees it's an investment in the future. “We’re asking not only those folks who see their paint chipped, but also folks who maybe have had lead in their homes for years, to do this. It gives us the opportunity to prepare for the future,” Busch says. “Because when you are no longer in your home, you know that someone else will come and hopefully, it will be a fine young family, and we want them to be safe too.”

Households with an income less than 80% of the area median income will get priority. According to Hamilton County, that translates to $56,650 for a person living alone, and $72,850 a year for a family of three.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.