Feds Award $5.6 Million for Lead Abatement
42-month grant can be used for paint and soil abatement in affected homes.
Milwaukee’s efforts towards lead poisoning prevention and abatement received a boost this week when the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded the city $5.6 million to perform lead abatement work on an estimated 320 homes over the next three and a half years.
Mayor Tom Barrett was joined by Congresswoman Gwen Moore in announcing the news at the Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers clinic at 1032 S. Cesar E. Chavez Dr., one of the private clinics that performs blood lead level testing for children.
The grant, which comes as part of a record $319 million award to 77 state and local governments and six tribal communities, is good news for the city’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. The city has long relied on HUD’s Lead Based Paint Hazard Reduction Program to fund a substantial portion of its abatement work, and city officials expressed concern about the viability of receiving future funding after HUD placed the city on a stop-work order in late 2017, shortly before the resignation of then Health Commissioner Bevan K. Baker.
“What this means, of course, is after a review by the federal government, they now have confidence in our programs,” said Barrett with new Milwaukee Health Department (MHD) Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik standing by his side. The city received $5 million from the harzard reduction program and $600,000 from the Healthy Homes program.
This round of funding will go towards abatement work at homes where children have tested positive for blood lead levels in excess of five micrograms per deciliter, the federal standard, or where other federal housing funds are being used to improve properties. Barrett said the grant would result in the creation of 40 jobs for people looking to do the abatement work.
The Mayor praised Moore’s sustained efforts to secure funding for the city, but the Congresswoman acknowledged the difficulty of the situation.
“We were in a bit of a jam with HUD,” said Moore. She said Kowalik’s hiring in September 2018 has helped turn things around in the department.
“The Health Department is considering lead a winnable issue,” said Kowalik, but more funding and planning will be necessary. “We have to have a plan,” said the commissioner as to how that would be accomplished. She said part of that includes finding more funding, while also developing an operations team of contractors and in-house staff.
The lack of contractors has been one of the problems facing MHD. She encouraged any contractors interested in the work to contact the department for more information on how they can get certified. MHD also needs new people internally. The department is hiring a new deputy commissioner following the departure of Jennifer Freiheit, a new director of home environmental health and more public health nurses.
But more still needs to be done by others according to Moore. Speaking to Senator Lena Taylor, who was in attendance but elected not to stand behind the podium, and Representatives Kalan Haywood II and JoCasta Zamarripa, Moore offered: “I want to lean on you to bring the bacon home to Milwaukee so we can go whole hog on abatement.”
Some “bacon” is on the way, with a new state Medicaid reimbursement waiver for lead poisoning prevention and abatement statewide. The state will contribute up to $2 million with the federal government contributing another $10 million. The idea is modeled after a similar effort in Michigan and was introduced in Wisconsin by Sixteenth Street Community Health Center director of government and community relations Christopher Rasch.
Finding other sources beyond the federal grants will be important for the city because the HUD funds cannot be spent on lateral replacement or water abatement.
Barrett said more help could also come from the proposed one percent sales tax. He said part of the proposal could include a requirement that seven percent of the proceeds be spent on public health in each of the Milwaukee County communities. He said that would create a $11.2 million annual revenue stream that could be spent on lateral replacement for the over 70,000 lead laterals in the city or lead paint abatement. Barrett said that dedicated revenue stream would encourage more contractors to get involved and could drive down costs, which were estimated at approximately $750 million in 2018 to replace every lead lateral.
Representative Haywood has also authored a bill with Senator LaTonya Johnson that would provide $40 million in forgivable loans to cover up to 50 percent of the cost of replacing the private-side lead laterals for homeowners or municipalities. The program could fund approximately 13,000 lateral replacements across the state. Haywood told Urban Milwaukee it is likely to have its first hearing this week. It would expand a pre-existing program.
The city through its various programs, including mandated replacement of the entire public and private lateral in the event of a break, expects to replace approximately 1,000 laterals this year.
The city’s grant application was authored by grant administration director Steve Mahan and Angela Hagy, MHD’s director of data and evaluation. Hagy at multiple points has stepped in to manage the city’s lead abatement efforts and until recently served as the direct of disease control and environmental health.
The cities of Lynn, Massachusetts, Baltimore, Maryland, Detroit, Michigan, Cleveland, Ohio, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Houston, Texas as well as of the Rhode Island Housing and Mortgage Finance Corporation were the only entities to receive more than Milwaukee, each receiving nearly $10 million. Approximately 20 entities received the same $5.6 million Milwaukee did. Milwaukee was the only Wisconsin city or county to receive funding.
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More about the Lead Crisis
- Study Finds Link Between Childhood Exposure to Lead and Firearm Violence - University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee - Oct 18th, 2019
- EPA Proposes Updates to Rules Impacting Lead and Copper in Drinking Water - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources - Oct 11th, 2019
- Milwaukee awarded $5.6 million HUD grant to protect children and families from lead hazards in the home - City of Milwaukee Health Department - Oct 1st, 2019
- City Hall: Feds Award $5.6 Million for Lead Abatement - Jeramey Jannene - Oct 1st, 2019
- DHS Lead Abatement Program Receives Federal Approval - Wisconsin Department of Health Services - Sep 12th, 2019
- MKE County: Committee Approves Loans for Lead Laterals - Isiah Holmes - Sep 10th, 2019
- Supervisor Weishan Demands Action to Replace Lead Laterals - Sup. John F. Weishan, Jr. - Sep 5th, 2019
- Evers Wants State Health “Lead Czar” - Erik Gunn - Jul 30th, 2019
- Gov. Evers takes action to protect children from lead exposure - Wisconsin Conservation Voters - Jul 29th, 2019
- Gov. Evers Signs Executive Order 36 Relating to Measures to Abate and Prevent Lead Exposure in Drinking Water - Gov. Tony Evers - Jul 29th, 2019
- City Hall: Outside Firm Auditing City’s Lead Program - Jeramey Jannene - Jul 29th, 2019
- Clean Drinking Water Effort Falls Short - Isiah Holmes - Jul 24th, 2019
- The State of Politics: New DNR Head Has Agenda of Change - Steven Walters - Jul 22nd, 2019
- City Hall: 1,893 Lead Service Lines Replaced - Jeramey Jannene - Jul 17th, 2019
- City Hall: Council Protects Tenants Seeking Lead Hazard Remedies - Jeramey Jannene - Jul 11th, 2019
- Council approves ordinance protecting tenants in lead-exposure investigations - Ald. Jose Perez - Jul 10th, 2019
- City Hall: Board of Health Appointments Sail Through - Jeramey Jannene - Jun 27th, 2019
- Rep. Robyn Vining Condemns Removal of Lead Service Line Replacement from Budget - State Rep. Robyn Vining - May 15th, 2019
- City Hall: Who Can Get a Free Lead Filter? - Jeramey Jannene - Apr 25th, 2019
- Chisholm Confirms Health Department Probe - Edgar Mendez - Apr 24th, 2019
- Freshwater For Life Action Coalition (FLAC) & Get The Lead Out Coalition (GTLO) Support Letter To Milwaukee County District Attorney By Milwaukee Alderpersons - Freshwater For Life Action Coalition - Apr 23rd, 2019
- City Hall: DA Asked To Consider Charging City Officials - Jeramey Jannene - Apr 22nd, 2019
- Report Urges Action on Schools’ Drinking Water - Danielle Kaeding - Apr 12th, 2019
- A House Divided: Comments from State Rep Show the Current Chasm in Wisconsin - Ald. Michael Murphy - Apr 10th, 2019
- A statement from Alderman Terry L. Witkowski following the March 22 special Public Safety and Health Committee meeting - Ald. Terry Witkowski - Mar 22nd, 2019
- City Hall: FLAC, Get the Lead Out Fight City Over Lead Posioning - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 22nd, 2019
- Special meeting devoted to lead in water issues will feature city departments - Ald. Bob Donovan - Mar 20th, 2019
- City Hall: Council Approves Civilian Health Oversight Board - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 5th, 2019
- Marquette University to host Flint water crisis author Anna Clark - Marquette University - Jan 18th, 2019
- Lead-Free Homes a Priority for Kowalik - Corri Hess - Jan 17th, 2019
- Council approves legislation concerning the Milwaukee Health Department’s lead reporting processes and water filter distribution plans - Ald. Milele Coggs - Jan 15th, 2019
- Forum Examines Lead Poisoning Prevention - Abby Ng - Nov 30th, 2018
- City Hall: City’s Lead Program is Working Again - Jeramey Jannene - Nov 16th, 2018
- League of Women Voters – Nov. 17 Public Program Addressing Lead Issues: A Milwaukee Focus - League of Women Voters of Milwaukee County - Nov 5th, 2018
- Citizens deserve to hear from Bevan Baker in public proceeding - Ald. Tony Zielinski - Oct 22nd, 2018
- Milwaukee’s Young Children Need to Be the Focus - Ald. Mark Borkowski - Sep 24th, 2018
- City Hall: Baker To Testify Before Common Council - Jeramey Jannene - Sep 14th, 2018
- Warning Residents of Lead Dangers - Jenny Whidden - Jul 18th, 2018
- Governor Walker Administration Awards More Than $26 Million for Lead Service Line Replacement in 42 Wisconsin Communities - Gov. Scott Walker - Jul 18th, 2018
- Environmental Review of City of Milwaukee Project for the Safe Drinking Water Loan Program (SDWLP) - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources - Jul 9th, 2018
- Environmental review of City of Milwaukee project for the Safe Drinking Water Loan Program (SDWLP) - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources - Jun 26th, 2018
- Common Council approves full lead hazard review for city-owned properties - Ald. Jose Perez - May 8th, 2018
- Legislation mandates lead water lines replacement at child care facilities - Ald. Milele Coggs - Apr 26th, 2018
- Child Care Centers Still Have Lead Pipes - Edgar Mendez - Apr 23rd, 2018
- Legislation looks to local source for water infrastructure needs - Ald. Milele Coggs - Apr 4th, 2018
- ‘10thirtysix ’ to re-ring the alarm bell on milwaukee’s lead crisis - Milwaukee PBS - Mar 27th, 2018
- Chief of Staff Comment on FLAC - Patrick Curley - Mar 22nd, 2018
- Evers Demands Action on Wisconsin’s Drinking Water Crisis - Gov. Tony Evers - Mar 21st, 2018
- Op Ed: How City Should Solve Lead in Water - Noelle Chesley, Anne Dressel, John Berges, and Helen Meier - Mar 2nd, 2018
- Alderman Bohl: A better strategy is needed in dealing with lead laterals - Ald. Jim Bohl - Feb 26th, 2018
- City Hall: McManus Lays Out Three Priorities for Health Department - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 23rd, 2018
- Governor Walker Signs Leading on Lead Act into Law - Gov. Scott Walker - Feb 21st, 2018
- City Hall: Mayor Allows Interim Health Leader - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 15th, 2018
- City Hall: Will Mayor Confirm Health Commissioner? - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 14th, 2018
- City Hall: HUD Halts City Lead Treatment Program - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 12th, 2018
- From Dr. Patricia McManus: Comments clarified - Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton - Feb 9th, 2018
- Comments by newly appointed interim Health Department commissioner troubling - Ald. Michael Murphy - Feb 9th, 2018
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Council Appoints McManus Interim Health Leader - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 6th, 2018
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Barrett Withdraws Nannis Nomination - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 5th, 2018
- FLAC Calls on Common Council to Confirm Dr. Patricia McManus as Interim Health Commissioner - Freshwater For Life Action Coalition - Feb 3rd, 2018
- Silence is Complicity – If You See Something, Please Say Something - Ald. Milele Coggs - Feb 2nd, 2018
- Gag Order for Health Department Employees Lifted by Mayor - Ald. Bob Donovan - Feb 1st, 2018
- Resolution Aims to Take Down Milwaukee Health Department’s Restrictive Communication Policy - Ald. Tony Zielinski - Feb 1st, 2018
- Common Council Alerts At-Risk Populations of Lead Risks After City of Milwaukee Health Department Fails to Notify Public - Milwaukee Common Council - Jan 31st, 2018
- Key Details Missing from the Mayor’s Account of Lead Testing Crisis - Ald. Khalif Rainey - Jan 31st, 2018
- What We Really Need: Answers - Ald. Russell Stamper, II - Jan 31st, 2018
- The Administration has Lost the Common Council’s Confidence in Addressing the Lead Issue - Ald. Jose Perez - Jan 30th, 2018
- Eyes on Milwaukee: City Report Finds Health Dept. Problems - Jeramey Jannene - Jan 30th, 2018
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Council Could Reject Interim Health Leader - Jeramey Jannene - Jan 30th, 2018
- Aldermen Ask City Attorney for Legality of Paul Nannis’ position - Milwaukee Common Council - Jan 29th, 2018
- Eyes on Milwaukee: $750 Million to Replace Lead Pipes - Jeramey Jannene - Jan 24th, 2018
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Council Responds to Lead Crisis - Jeramey Jannene - Jan 23rd, 2018
- Legislation seeks lead service line replacement for city-owned properties - Ald. Bob Bauman - Jan 19th, 2018
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Council Grills Mayor, City Health Staff - Jeramey Jannene - Jan 17th, 2018
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Council Launches Health Dept. Probe - Jeramey Jannene - Jan 17th, 2018
- Resolution calls for Milwaukee Water to give public lead updates - Ald. Tony Zielinski - Jan 17th, 2018
- Commissioner Baker’s departure leaves us all with many, many questions - Ald. Bob Donovan - Jan 16th, 2018
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Barrett Ousts Bevan Baker Over Lead Fiasco - Jeramey Jannene - Jan 12th, 2018
- Health Department mistakes worsen city’s lead crisis - Ald. Mark Borkowski - Jan 12th, 2018
- Council set to act on Health Department crisis - Milwaukee Common Council - Jan 12th, 2018
- Freshwater For Life Action Coalition (FLAC) to Hold Press Conference After Announcement Of Firing Health Commissioner Bevan Baker - Freshwater For Life Action Coalition - Jan 12th, 2018
- Is City Dragging Feet on Lead Filters? - Jabril Faraj and Elliot Hughes - Jan 3rd, 2018
- Common Council Strengthens Lead Standards - Jabril Faraj - Dec 5th, 2017
- One Step Closer to Tackling Wisconsin’s Lead Crisis - State Sen. Chris Larson - Oct 31st, 2017
- Advocates Push City On Lead Pipes - Jabril Faraj - Oct 25th, 2017
- Lead Poisoning a “Public Health Crisis” - Jabril Faraj - Jul 19th, 2017
- National Water Expert Retracts Criticism of City Health Department - City of Milwaukee Health Department - Jul 14th, 2017
- Governor Walker Announces 35 Municipalities to Receive a Total of $13.8 Million to Remove Lead Service Lines - Gov. Scott Walker - Jun 28th, 2017
- Campaign Cash: WMC Opposes Lead Pipes Bill - Wisconsin Democracy Campaign - Apr 20th, 2017
- Op Ed: State Action Needed on Lead Pipes Problem - Chris Walker - Mar 12th, 2017
- Murphy’s Law: How Milwaukee Handled “Flint” Crisis - Bruce Murphy - Jan 19th, 2017
- Tainted Water: State’s Failures On Lead Pipes - Cara Lombardo and Dee J. Hall - Jan 15th, 2017
- Tainted Water: Lax Rules Expose Kids To Lead-Tainted Water - Cara Lombardo and Dee J. Hall - Dec 19th, 2016
- Tainted Water: DNR Program Replaces Lead Laterals - Cara Lombardo and Dee J. Hall - Dec 19th, 2016
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Council Approves Help For Lead Pipes - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 13th, 2016
- Tainted Water: DNR Delays on Lead Poisoning Issue - Cara Lombardo and Dee J. Hall - Dec 4th, 2016