Local News

Federal Money Helps Make Durham Homes Healthier

Posted February 5, 1999

— A million children are poisoned by lead every year. Lead-based paint is typically found in older homes, but not exclusively. Now, the government is taking the lead in getting the lead out, and our state will benefit.

North Carolina is getting $2.6 million for lead paint removal as part of a federal grant announced Friday. Durham will receive $2.4 million of that money.

There are thousands of older homes in Durham that could have poisonous lead-based paint inside. Soon many of them will get a facelift that is long overdue.

Kendall Abernathy is grateful. "I'm just delighted to get it. I can't tell you how happy I am to have this money available," says the Director of the Durham Department of Housing.

The money she's so delighted about will be used to eliminate lead paint in more than 700 homes.

Lead-based paint is primarily found in homes built before the 1950s. But it can be found in homes built as late as 1978.

Several homes are already being refurbished by the housing department. They are the type of homes that will be included in the city's lead abatement program.

The program is designed to eliminate the potential health hazard for thousands of children.

"We need to be able to help people live in a safe environment and for children to grow up strong and healthy," Abernathy says.

There are about 50,000 homes in Durham built before 1978, all of which could potentially have lead paint. The health department will have to identify which 700 homes pose the greatest health risk. Those homes will then be included in the program over the next three years.

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