Program has $2.9M to rid old houses of lead in Wayne County

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An infusion of nearly $3 million is going to rid older houses of lead in Wayne County.

"The kids are our future. I mean l, we need them. If it affects their learning ability. It's everything."
Her grandchildren are everything to Barbara Harris. So you can imagine peeling paint at her home on Wood Street off of Outer Drive in Melvindale is concerning.  

"I have two that live with me four days a week and the other two or three are here another 4-6 a week," she said.

And because of that, Barbara qualifies for a program in Wayne County that just got an infusion of $2.9 million.  
That money will go to 200,000 homes in the county as part of a program to rid older houses of lead. The rule to qualify? Have a child under 6 years old that lives or visits the home. Each house gets on average $6,000 to $8,000.

"Like I say, sometimes a house doesn't need that much. They don't have that much of a lead base paint hazard so maybe not as many windows," said Carol Austerberry of Wayne County.

The entire $2.9 million grant will last three years and $400,000 of it will go to home improvements.  

"Going up their front stairs. Maybe they don't have railings or they're rickety. We have been able to replace roofs and furnaces," 

Barbara Harris's son who also lives in the home excited to sign up. He has two kids who stay here a few days of a week as well. 

"Most of the lead that buried underneath the paint is buried five or six layers of new colored paint and people don't just think about it but you bump a wall and it chips away, and you got s baby crawling around the floor. There's lots of ways lead can get in someone's body," Dave Harris said.

The inspections will begin soon in Wayne County, making sure it doesn't get into the little ones this family values the most. 

"I thank them for taking the initiative to help before it becomes a news story and a bunch of kids are sick," Harris said.

Visit to learn how to sign up for the lead abatement program.