WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — The Woonsocket Housing Authority is set to receive a $1 million federal grant to remove lead-based paint from the city’s public housing, U.S. Sen. Jack Reed and Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt announced Tuesday.
The funds being provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will allow the city to identify and eliminate lead-based paint hazards, which are especially dangerous to children.
“This federal funding will help prevent kids from being exposed to harmful lead-based paint hazards in their homes, and it will help upgrade and improve public housing units for years to come,” Reed said.
According to HUD, 70 percent of lead-poisoning cases in the U.S. are caused by exposure to these hazards in the home. The R.I. Department of Health says most homes in the state likely contain lead-based paint since 80% of them were built prior to 1978, when the paint was banned for residential use.
Exposure to lead-based paint can severely inhibit healthy development and compromise learning ability, according to health officials. If a child is exposed at a young age, their potential for upward social mobility throughout adulthood can be permanently jeopardized.