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Special funding for GR homeowners to remove lead

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A Grand Rapids campaign called Get the Lead Out! will offer special funding for homeowners starting Monday.

According to a report recently released by the Michigan Department of Community Health, most lead-poisoned children in our state live within a 5-square-mile area of Grand Rapids (specifically the 49507 zip code).

Get the Lead Out! says you could save your child's life by filling out a simple application.

The campaign announced a deadline for people to apply for funding to safely remove lead hazards from their homes.

Homeowners and rental property owners must apply by December 1st to be considered.

Since the inception of Get the Lead Out! 10 years ago, the program has removed lead-based paint from nearly 14-hundred homes in Grand Rapids at little to no cost to homeowners.

According to the Kent County Health Department, the number of kids with lead poisoning there is one and a half times the national rate.

That means, last year alone, more than 550 kids in Kent County tested positive for elevated lead levels.

"The primary dangers that we're seeing in West Michigan are children being exposed to lead dust," says Paul Haan, executive director of the Healthy Homes Coalition. "That comes from peeling paint so older windows, older doors, they rub the stuff into fine dust or it gets tracked on people's feet from outside. Then children crawl in this dust or they lick their hands."

To qualify for funding from Get the Lead Out! to remove lead hazards from your home, you must live in Grand Rapids and have kids age five or younger living with you.

Qualifying homeowners are eligible for zero-percent interest "matching" loans of up to 12,000 dollars to help make their homes lead-safe.

Qualifying rental property owners are eligible for grants of up to 10,000 dollars for the first unit repaired and 4,000 dollars for additional units in the same building.

Get the Lead Out! is run by the City of Grand Rapids, the Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan, the Kent County Health Department and the Rental Property Owners Association.

To apply for funding or to find out more, call 616-456-3030 or 616-241-3300 (for assistance in Spanish, 616-241-3300 or 616-632-7087) or visit www.GetTheLeadOutGR.org


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