PATERSON, NJ – U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), and Mayor Andre Sayegh today highlighted a $3.4 million Lead Based Paint Hazard Reduction award from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The grant will help Paterson coordinate with local medical and social service providers to remove lead paint in 66 low-income housing units throughout the city. More than 3,000 children each year in New Jersey are diagnosed with lead poisoning from exposure to lead paint and other sources in the home, according to data compiled by the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH).

“From Michigan to New Jersey, the consequences of lead contamination in our homes have been tragic. Whether it’s contaminating the water in our pipes or the paint on our walls, we must do everything possible to reduce and eradicate the public health menace that is lead exposure,” said Rep. Pascrell. “We must especially protect children from exposure, and that begins with securing federal awards like this. These funds will help Paterson identify, treat, and prevent lead contamination in our neighborhoods so future generations can be protected from incidental contact or ingestion. Our Senators and I worked hard to secure this award for North Jersey and we will continue bringing home funding like this that helps keep our water clean and our neighbors safe.”

“This is a critical investment in our children’s health and in our state’s future,” said Sen. Menendez, ranking member of the Senate’s housing subcommittee. “In 2020, no child should live in a home that’s dangerous to their health, and we must continue investing federal resources to ensure all federally-assisted homes are free of lead hazards. The cost of inaction is far too great for our kids and our communities.”

“We must remain committed to fighting for federal funding like this to protect the health and safety of all New Jerseyans,” said Sen. Booker. “This federal investment will provide the City of Paterson with vital resources to address this public health crisis and also help mitigate the threat of lead exposure in homes. The coronavirus pandemic has taken a devastating toll on communities like Paterson and we must ensure we are doing all we can to support New Jersey families.”

Lead hazards in a home pose serious health and safety threats to children. Lead poisoning causes significant health, neurological, behavioral, intellectual, and academic impairments. When absorbed into the body, especially in young children, lead can damage the brain and nervous system and cause slow development and growth and learning and behavioral problems.

“We are elated and profoundly grateful that the City of Paterson has been awarded this $3 million HUD grant for lead hazard reduction, likely the largest federal grant for a specific project in the city’s history,” said Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh. “Our team at the Division of Health Child Lead and City Lead Program has worked diligently for numerous years to address lead hazards related to childhood lead poisoning in the City. The missing component throughout this time was funding to provide the construction improvements necessary for lead abatement, as it can be cost prohibitive to most homeowners, especially in low-income communities, and must be done in a professionally prescribed manner. This grant will go a long way in providing much needed assistance in the abatement of this first group of 66 homes in the City of Paterson.”

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