Niagara County has been awarded $2.75 million in federal funding to continue addressing and removing lead-based paint hazards in homes.

Funds are being awarded from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Program as the region has been grappling with the threat of destructive lead-based paint for years.

According to a release, $5.6 million in funding is heading to Erie County.

As of 2016, the City of Buffalo alone had nearly 85,000 homes that could be classified as lead hazards, with nearly 12,000 of those homes housing children. In Erie County, 14% of all children tested positive for some level of lead poisoning. Similarly, in Niagara County, 9% of children tested positive.

The purpose of the Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Program is to identify and control lead-based paint hazards in eligible privately-owned housing for rental or owner-occupants. These grants are used to assist municipalities in carrying out lead hazard control activities.

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced the awards.

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