Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL), Tim Scott (R-SC), Bob Menendez (D-NJ) Todd Young (R-IN), Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) introduced the “Lead-Safe Housing for Kids Act of 2017” (S. 1854) to protect children living in federally assisted housing from lead poisoning. While lead poisoning rates have fallen since the federal government enacted lead polices in the 1990s, the problem persists. Lead poisoning disproportionately impacts the children of minority and low income families. NLIHC has endorsed the bill.
The bill would require HUD to issue rules that mandate an initial risk assessment for lead-based hazards in low income housing constructed prior to 1978 before a family moves in. More rigorous examination than a mere visual inspection would be required for an initial risk assessment. The bill also provides an emergency transfer process for families without penalty or loss of assistance if a lead hazard is found in the home and the landlord fails to control the hazard within 30 days of being notified. Landlords would also have to disclose the presence of lead if lead hazards are found in the home.
“We know that there is no safe level of lead for children,” Mr. Durbin stated. “While HUD has made much needed improvements to their regulations in the last year, children are still being exposed to and poisoned by lead before any intervention is triggered. We have to bring these outdated lead standards up-to-date and make sure they are consistent with the latest science. We must also invest in prevention measures, which have unparalleled cost savings for society. Most importantly, lead poisoning prevention preserves a child’s ability to reach his or her full potential. American children are depending on this legislation – it can’t wait any longer.”
“South Carolina is home to some of the oldest standing public housing in the country, with buildings dating to the 1920’s,” Mr. Scott said. “We owe it to children both in South Carolina and across the country to ensure that proper inspections are taking place in regards to lead paint, which was not banned for use in housing until 1978. My mission is to ensure every child from every zip code in the country has the opportunity to succeed, and this bipartisan bill is an important piece of helping ensure low-income families have access to safe housing that can provide a stable environment for their children’s dreams to grow.”
The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.
Learn more about the bill at: http://bit.ly/2fkGX5m