MAYVILLE, N.Y.: - During Lead Poisoning Prevention Week 2019, Chautauqua County’s Lead Prevention Program staff issued a challenge to Jamestown-area landlords: get a vacant unit tested, and make it lead safe for the next family. COVID delayed getting the projects, but Jamestown now has two more lead-safe units as a result.
Pictured, Chautauqua County Lead Poisoning Prevention Coordinator Anna Powell and Real Estate Investors Association Officers Brenda Strasser and Harold Whitford in a unit with new, lead-free windows.
Note – photo was taken prior to COVID mask requirements.
Over 90% of housing in the City of Jamestown was built before 1978, the year that lead paint was banned for use in homes. As properties with lead paint age, poisonous lead paint dust can be released. Sadly, the result is children getting lead-poisoned in their homes. Childhood lead poisoning can cause loss of IQ points and behavior challenges that last a lifetime.
As an added incentive for the Lead Poisoning Prevention Week Challenge, Chautauqua County’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Team offered the chance to win $300 in Home Depot gift cards to any landlord who participated in the Challenge and had their unit cleared for lead paint hazards.
“It’s easier for landlords to get the work done when a unit is vacant,” said Healthy Communities Consultant Lisa Schmidtfrerick-Miller. “Owners typically re-paint and make repairs before a new tenant moves in, so that is a great time to be doing any additional work needed to make it lead-safe.”
Harold Whitford and Brenda Strasser are business partners and current officers of the Real Estate Investors Association. They won a gift card in the Challenge.
“We happened to have a couple of vacant units that needed some work, so we signed up,” said Ms. Strasser. “Both units had lead paint. We actually replaced windows and a couple of doors, which takes care of a major source of lead dust. We did a lot of painting and flooring work too.”
As for the final result, Mr. Whitford said, “We had windows backordered and had some other delays, but we are happy to have lead-safe housing for two families with young children. It’s expensive to get all this work done, but we don’t want to see kids get lead poisoning.”
The Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services’ Lead Prevention Team, Real Estate Investors Association members, and other property owners are looking forward to financial assistance coming soon in the form of a new HUD Lead Hazard Reduction grant.
“The HUD grant will be administered by Chautauqua Opportunities, Inc., and will provide $3 million over the next 42 months for replacement of windows and doors along with other lead hazard control measures, at low or no cost to homeowners and landlords of qualified properties in Chautauqua County,” said County Lead Prevention Team Coordinator Anna Powell. “We look forward to continuing to work with area property owners, landlords and our many other community partners to stop childhood lead poisoning.”
More details about the HUD funding will be available in the coming months. For more information on the County’s Lead Primary Prevention Program, visit the County’s website at: www.chqgov.com/environmental-health/lead-poisoning-prevention , or call Anna Powell at: 716-753-4764.