Castro Details HUD Actions to Address Lead Poisoning
At a July 20 event hosted by the Center for American Progress (CAP), U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro outlined steps HUD is taking to protect children from lead exposure, including developing procedures to contain lead hazards more effectively, improving lead-prevention policies, and partnering with other leaders and agencies to protect residents from lead poisoning. When asked why a lead problem still exists in 2016, Castro responded, “we have not dedicated the kind of resources that ought to be dedicated to the problem.”
David Fukuzawa, Managing Director of the Health and Human Services Program of the Kresge Foundation, who also participated in the event, stated that this is a “fixable, finite problem.” He argued for increased resources for lead abatement programs, saying lead abatement is a solid investment that will reduce exposure to lead while lowering costs in housing, healthcare, and education systems throughout the country.
The event also highlighted CAP’s recently released report, Creating Safe and Healthy Living Environments for Low-Income Families, which examines lead poisoning and other issues that impact healthy living environments, such as neighborhood violence and housing barriers faced by people with disabilities. The report finds that 535,000 children are exposed to lead each year and that 23 million housing units, a majority of them occupied by low-income households, contain one or more lead-based paint hazards. It claims the affordable housing crisis results in unhealthy living conditions for low-income households, maintaining that because so many households are cost-burdened, they do not have enough money to manage lead problems in their homes. The report recommends more funding for the Housing Choice Voucher program as one solution to resolve the affordable housing issue in the country.