ROCHESTER, Minn. – Southeast Minnesota is getting $3.3 million in federal funding to protect families from lead and other household hazards.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is giving the money to organizations in Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Mower, Olmsted, Goodhue, Houston, Rice, Steele, Wabasha, and Winona counties. The grant will allow for lead hazard reduction work in 151 housing units, at least 31 of which will be in the City of Rochester.
“As home to Mayo Clinic and Destination Medical Center, Rochester has a unique responsibility to ensure health equity for all of our residents – especially those who are living in poverty,” says Cindy Steinhauser, Community Development Director for the City of Rochester. “By working with partner organizations such as the Rochester Area Builders, we can extend our influence beyond the city limits, helping to achieve lead hazard reduction throughout the southeast Minnesota region.”
According to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the southeastern part of the state has higher rates of lead in children’s blood compared to the state average. The region’s higher percentage of older homes with lead-based paint inside is blamed for that.
“Lead-based paint in older homes remains the single greatest cause of elevated lead levels in Minnesota children,” says Stephanie Yendell, lead poisoning prevention program supervisor for MDH. “Addressing sources of lead and other household hazards in homes in this region will go a long way toward protecting the health of children for years to come.”