BATTLE CREEK, Mich — During a stormy press conference outside City Hall Wednesday, Battle Creek Mayor, Mark Behnke, announced The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) would be providing $3.4 million in grant money to the city for lead-abatement programs.
The funding is part of $8 million total granted to the state of Michigan to identify and get rid of lead in low-income family homes.
The grants are though HUD's Lead Based Paint Hazards Reduction Grant Program and also include more than $17 million from HUD’s Healthy Homes Supplemental funding nationwide.
HUD Midwest Regional Administrator, Joseph Galvan was also present during the announcement in Battle Creek. He said the program would be focusing on about 85 housing units in the city.
He said, "We at HUD, we understand the importance of the intersection between health and housing and we are deeply committed to protecting families and children across the city of Battle Creek, and certainly across the state of Michigan, so that they can reach their God-given potential."
Mayor Behnke added that it's reassuring these projects can continue, despite the pandemic.
“We know that children grow in immense and important ways during the first five years of life. We also know that this is when the dangers from lead exposure can affect children the most. I encourage our neighbors across the city, across Calhoun county, as we work with the public health department to be more attentive to the program," he said.
Mayor Behnke went on to encourage families to get their children tested for lead.
$400,000 of the $3.4 million for the city of Battle Creek comes from Healthy Homes Supplemental funding.
The remaining $4,589,940 in HUD grant money will be used in the Lansing area.