McHenry County to use grant to address lead in homes

The grant will allow lead to be removed from qualifying homes for no cost

McHenry County plans to use a grant from the federal government to remove lead from more than 100 homes in the next two years.

According to a news release from Friday, the county will be using a $2 million grant from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to replace to remove lead from 120 homes over the next two years. An additional $250,000 also will be used for the project.

Lead-based paint that creates health hazards is often a problem in homes built before 1978, when lead paint was banned by the federal government. The age of the house is one of the requirements a house must meet in order to be considered for the program.

In addition to being built before 1978, the resident of the house must currently be pregnant or have children younger than age 6 that have a certain amount of lead in their blood. Residents also can apply for the grant if they believe there is a hazardous amount of lead in the house.

The homeowner also must be in the low- to moderate-income category, which is 50% to 80% of the county’s median income, which was $86,799 in 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The grant is available for up to $20,000 at no charge to residents. The grant also will help the county provide financial and relocation assistance during the remediation, if necessary.

Lead is especially dangerous to young children and their development, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Exposure to lead in children can impact their growth and cognitive abilities.

Those who qualify for the county’s lead removal program can apply at www.mchenrycountyil.gov/leadsafehomes.