Both House and Senate Move to Increase HUD Lead Hazard Control Funding
by Julie Kruse
Thanks to all of you who called your senators last week to urge them to pass the HUD funding bill! The bill did pass the Senate, with $50 million in funding increases for lead hazard control, half of which will go to HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes (OLHCHH) – raising their budget to $135 million – and half for lead hazard control in public housing.
Similarly, the House appropriations committee just passed a House funding bill that also increases HUD’s OLHCHH budget – to $130 million, an increase of $20 million. Both bills also provide level funding for CDBG and HOME and allow continued assistance to all households currently served by HUD programs, with some targeted increases. We’ll need your help over the summer and fall to ensure that these lead hazard control funding increases are enacted at the Senate level.
Of course, this is only a fraction of the funding needed to eliminate lead poisoning, but it’s a strong step forward in an austere budget environment. To help us press for more funding, sign up for the Find It, Fix It, Fund It campaign and/or register for our Find it, Fix it, Fund It webinar roll-out meeting tomorrow (1 p.m. EDT).
We thank Chairperson Mario Díaz-Balart (R-FL-25) of the HUD appropriations subcommittee for working closely with ranking members Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY-17) and Representative David Price (D-NC-4) to increase spending on lead hazard control. All three brought the issue up as a key success of the bill at the markup hearing today.
I was able to thank them personally and urge you to thank you them too by tweeting:
@MarioDB thank you for increasing @HUDgov #lead hazard control funding and protecting America’s children!
@NitaLowey thank you for increasing @HUDgov #lead hazard control funding and protecting America’s children!
@RepDavidEPrice thank you for increasing @HUDgov #lead hazard control funding and protecting America’s children!
Here are additional highlights from the Senate bill in which Chairperson Susan Collins (R-ME) and Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-RI) crafted numerous policy changes to improve lead poisoning prevention! The new bill will accomplish the following:
- Provides more resources to the Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes ($25 million) and lead hazard control in public housing ($25 million).
- Allows lead hazard control grants to serve zero-bedroom units for the first time.
- Requires HUD to align its blood lead level standard with CDC’s (changing the standard from 20 μg/dL to 5 μg/dL).
- Doubles the staffing at the Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes’ Enforcement Division.
- Also: Increases funding for Section 202 Housing for the Elderly program and the Section 811 Housing for People with Disabilities program, and homeless assistance programs.
Thanks for all you do, and don’t forget to join the next full National Safe and Healthy Housing Coalition webinar on June 7, which will include a panel on Healthy Housing for Older Adults! [UPDATE: webinar link added.]
Julie Kruse, worked as NCHH’s director of policy from November 2014 to January 2017, passionately advocating for safe, healthy, and affordable housing of high quality. In her long and distinguished career, she has served such organizations as the Immigration Equality Action Fund, the Center for Economic Progress, Chicago Women in Trades, and the Midwest Women’s Center. Since 2017, she has worked with the Family Equality Council’s public policy team to gain legal equality for LGBTQ families, LGBTQ youth needing families, and LGBTQ adults waiting to foster or adopt in the U.S. Ms. Kruse holds a B.S. in biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana and a Master of Science in education from Northwestern University.