Wisconsin will receive $6.7 million for home lead abatement programs throughout the state from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act by April 15, Gov. Jim Doyle announced Tuesday.
The programs will help remove old lead paint from homes that can be ingested by children after the paint turns into dust. In addition, the funds will generate $5.47 million in construction spending and create 60 construction related jobs, as well as various other positions needed to remove the lead.
This will remove the dangerous paint from 321 homes and protect 481 children, according to a statement from the governor.
According to the Department of Health Services, in 2006 about one student in every kindergarten class in the state suffered from lead poisoning. Doyle’s statement also said since 1996, 44,000 children throughout the state have been poisoned by lead paint.
The money will not be used to remove paint from commercial buildings. Instead it will be used to remove the old paint from all housing including apartment buildings and family dwellings, according to Stephanie Smiley, spokesperson for the Department of Health Services.
“Low-income housing are the target areas for lead abatement, wherever that may be,” Smiley said.
The funds will be distributed to the Department of Commerce and Rock County’s Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control programs and the Department of Health Services and the City of Milwaukee’s Health Homes Demonstration programs, which will then distribute the funds throughout the state as they are needed.
“Too many children have already been harmed by lead paint or other hazards and this money is crucial to allowing us to help make our homes safer,” Doyle said in a statement.
However, Republicans are skeptical of the measure due to the increase in federal spending.
Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, member of the Senate Committee on Housing, expressed his concern on the government’s recent spending on various programs in the state.
“The federal government is so far in debt they have no businesses spending more money on anything, but if they’re doling out money… we might as well get our fair share,” Grothman said.