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July 11, 2016: Advocates Demand Stronger Lead Poisoning Prevention Strategies in Voucher-Assisted Housing

NHLP, the Shriver Center, and the Health Justice Project at Loyola University Chicago School of Law recently submitted joint comments to HUD to prioritize lead poisoning prevention in the Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspection protocol. Lead poisoning causes severe health concerns, such as significant biological and neurological damage affecting cognition, behavior, bodily functions, growth, and development. These concerns are especially dangerous for Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) tenants, who reside in neighborhoods with high rates of lead poisoning where the housing stock predates prohibitions against the use of lead-based paint. More than one-fifth of children from the poorest neighborhoods, where HCV tenants often reside, have alarming levels of lead poisoning. These risks fall heavily on communities of color, who are disproportionately represented in federally assisted housing. For example, African American children are nearly three times more likely than Caucasian children to have highly elevated blood-lead levels and the associated damaging health outcomes. The joint comments request that HUD take a stronger, proactive stance to detect and abate lead before it causes significant, permanent health concerns among HCV tenants, especially in communities of color.

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