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Worcester Awarded $4.1M Lead Hazard Reduction Grant

For Immediate Release: 8/22/2023 12:29 pm

WORCESTER, Mass. – The City of Worcester has been awarded a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Grant in the amount of $4,100,000 for Lead Hazard Reduction program funding for citywide use for qualified property owners.

This is the largest award the municipality has ever received for the abatement of lead paint hazards. For this grant, the municipality will address lead hazards in 165 housing units providing safer homes for low-income families with children. To accomplish this work, the municipality will collaborate with local partners including UMass Memorial Children’s Medical Center, the Southeast Asian Coalition, Worcester Housing Authority, CENTRO, and Worcester Head Start.

“This award provides an incredible opportunity for the City of Worcester and local partners to work together to address home health conditions,” said City Manager Eric D. Batista. “I want to thank the Office of Economic Development and its Housing Division for their efforts to secure this grant, which will enable the division to continue its critical work in helping protect children and their families from health and safety hazards in their home.”

In coordination with the community partners, the municipality will provide a united message regarding the health conditions related to lead poisoning and asthma.

“This funding, combined with other local, state, and federal resources, will strengthen the foundation of existing efforts and lead to a sustainable, community-wide effort to combat the effects of childhood lead poisoning and home health conditions and help provide the city’s children a safe place to call home” said City of Worcester Director of Housing Development and Healthy Homes James Brooks.

Worcester’s housing stock includes a large percentage from the industrial revolution era (1880-1920). As such, a large percentage of housing stock is multi-family housing and was used to house factory workers. Due to the large percentage of deferred maintenance on these properties, there is a continued need to rehabilitate and make this housing stock healthy and safe for children under six years of age. Current data shows a total of 34,701 housing units built before 1940 and 61,488 housing units built before 1978, which is 77% of the housing stock, according to the American Community Survey – 5 Year Estimate. Worcester is home to 10,917 children under the age of six.

The city currently has a 61% initial screening rate, which is lower than the state average of 70%, and remains a high-risk community for childhood lead poisoning. Massachusetts requires all children to be tested between 9-12 months, and at two and three years of age. All children are required to be tested prior to entering daycare, prekindergarten, or kindergarten.

Since 2007, the municipality has been awarded $19,222,582 in Lead Paint Abatement and Healthy Home grants.

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