A new grant could soon help residents in La Crosse remove lead poisoning risks from their homes, after approval for the funds passed through the Community Development Commission on Tuesday night.
The $350,900 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services will help the city address 10 homes that have been identified as being at risk for poisoning from lead-based paint.
Funding will go to priority homes at first, or those that have children on public health programs, such as Badgercare of Medicaid.
This is the first time the city has received funding for a program like this, and officials are hopeful that it will be successful.
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“It’s going to be some work for us because we’ve never done anything like it before,” said Caroline Gregerson, the city’s Community Development administrator. “But we heard from the community that this is important.”
Gregerson said the city shot for the “conservative” amount of $300,000 because it was such a new program. She said officials are optimistic that if the program goes well, they could receive more funding, even still this year.
At least 20 households have been identified in La Crosse as having lead poisoning, Gregerson said.
“Not able to help everyone,” Gregerson said of the early project, adding that there are also only two contractors in La Crosse that are qualified to do lead abatement.
Because of the qualified contractor shortage, the city will use part of the grant funding to pay for contractor training.
The rest of the funding will go to the actual lead abatement in the 10 homes, replacing windows, repainting, replacing siding and roofing, and repairing trim.
Applications for the program will be accepted starting next month, and those interested can start by calling the city planning department.
“It’s going to be some work for us because we’ve never done anything like it before. But we heard from the community that this is important.”
Caroline Gregerson, the city's Community Development administrator