$2 Million Federal Grants Awarded to Address Environmental Hazards in Black Belt Homes

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[Photo Credit: Alabama Public Television]

Alabama and 29 other states are set to receive a $104.7 million share of Healthy Homes Production Grant program funds from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) and the University of Alabama recently received $2 million from HUD Healthy Homes Production Grant to eliminate environmental and safety risks to some of Alabama’s vulnerable and underserved communities. the University of Alabama SafeState Program and the Alabama Life Research Institute will help manage the $2 million grant and remediation activities.

According to a Press releasethe Healthy homes and healthy communities in the Black Belt Region of Alabama program will target approximately 150 low-income households in the counties that make up part of the state’s Black Belt region.

The program will identify and provide solutions to environmental hazards such as indoor air quality, mold and dampness, pests, carbon monoxide, lead-based paint, asbestos and radon. Qualifying families will receive a free assessment to assess potential hazards and coordinate home improvements, prioritizing environmental and safety risks.

ADPH and the University of Alabama establish the application process for eligible families.

“This program not only allows us to identify health and safety issues in these underserved communities, but it also gives us the resources to address some of the issues. Qualified participants can receive up to $10,000 for repairs designed to reduce or eliminate identified hazards,” said Michael RasburyDirector of Environmental Programs UA SafeState.

Public events will be scheduled and will take place in affected counties to reach eligible families and raise awareness of the program. A launch event is scheduled for March 23 at the University of Alabama.

Goals and objectives for all applicants receiving a Healthy Homes Production Award will be:

  • Maximize both the number of vulnerable residents protected from housing-related environmental health and safety risks and the number of housing units where these risks are controlled.
  • Identify and remediate housing-related health and safety risks in private, rental and/or owner-occupied housing, particularly in units and/or buildings where families with children, seniors aged 62 and more or families with disabled persons reside disabilities.
  • Promote cost effective and effective healthy home methods and approaches that can be replicated and sustained.
  • Build and enhance partner resources to develop the most cost-effective methods to identify and control key housing-related environmental health and safety risks.
  • Promote collaboration, data sharing and targeting between health and housing services.
  • Ensure, to the extent possible, that skills training, employment, contracting and other economic opportunities generated by this grant are directed to low and very low income people, especially those benefiting from government housing assistance, and to businesses that provide economic opportunities to low and very low income people in the area where the project is located.

For more information, visit alabamasafestate.ua.edu/healthyhomes/

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