Tuesday, Feb 20, 2018
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Property owners can apply for lead repair money

The city of Toledo is closer to disbursing $2.9 million of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grants to help property owners remediate lead hazards, but no money has been awarded to date, Department of Neighborhoods officials told city council members Thursday. 

Jerry Culkowski, the lead program’s manager, said they completed term negotiations with HUD in December, including maximum award amounts. Owner-occupied properties can receive up to $16,000 for improvements related to lead-based paint with a possible supplemental $5,000 for other environmental home repairs not related to lead.

Owners of rental housing can receive up to $14,000 for lead-related repairs and a potential $5,000 supplement for other “healthy home” improvements. The city announced the grant award in July. 

Councilman Peter Ujvagi went back and forth with neighborhoods officials about whether or not the funding can be used for less intensive “interim controls” that would comply with Toledo’s rental-property lead ordinance rather than full abatement. He said he was looking to “maximize the impact of the grant.”

Mr. Culkowski said the funds are used to make the homes satisfy a “lead-safe” standard rather than “lead-free” standard of full abatement, but that some abatement procedures such as window replacement are an option. 

Property owners who accept the funding must agree to pay the difference if a contractor’s work specifications exceed the award maximum. Mr. Ujvagi asked for further clarification from the department about what the funding can be used for. 

Applicants must meet eligibility guidelines based on household size and income. A child under age 6 or a pregnant woman must live in the home to qualify, or the owner must show a child spends significant time at the residence. 

The neighborhoods department has initiated an intake process for more than 200 people who expressed interest in the funding, acting director Bonita Bonds said, but she could not offer an estimate for when the money would be awarded. Those interested should call 419-245-1400 to begin the application process.

Toledo-Lucas County Health Department officials told council members 1,047 properties have been registered “lead-safe” in compliance with the city’s ordinance. An estimated 12,500 properties that fall under the first of three compliance deadlines are required to be registered by June 30. 

Contact Lauren Lindstrom at llindstrom@theblade.com, 419-724-6154, or on Twitter @lelindstrom.

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