New HUD requirement puts restriction on lead program

A snag with the city’s lead abatement program has caused its organizers to dial back on the number of communities it will be able to serve with the grant.

Although the Lead Hazard Control grant will still serve the same amount of homes – 125 – it will now be limited in its scope, said Joyce Brown, lead grant program manager.

The Housing Department requested council approval to enter into 18 28e agreements, mutual agreements that state the agencies intend to work together on a particular project, with communities across Hardin, Marshall and Tama Counties.

The grant has already helped remove lead from more than 500 homes since its inception in 2003.

However, a new mandate has restricted how the Housing Department must proceed in removing lead from the homes. As the department enters into the second phase of the program, it must now seek council approve in addition to that of the Marshall County Board of Supervisors.

“The board (of supervisors) only has land-use authority over the unincorporated areas of their counties,” Brown said.

The new filing, called an Appendix A, comes as a way to avoid liability, she said. Should something go awry, the Housing Department would be unable to represent someone in federal court.

Of the 36 communities asked to participate, only 18 entered into the agreements.

Brown said she was actually pleased that many chose to be part of the program.

She said she is not surprised that communities that are not part of the flood plain program would refrain from participating since, in order to qualify for assistance, residents would have to purchase insurance if they are in the flood plain.

To qualify for the grant, homes must contain children under age six. If the home is occupied by the owner, the tenant must be under 80 percent of the area median income. If the home is a rental, at least half the units must be 50 percent under the area median income and the rest must be under 80 percent of the area median income.

The home must have been built prior to 1978.

Since this time of year is typically a bit slow, Brown said the setback will not delay the program. The Housing Department is still looking for families that meet the requirements for lead abatement. For more information contact Joyce Brown at 641-754-5756.

The city council will vote to approve the agreements at its next meeting.