AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - The City of Augusta is putting families and children first with the help of a $3,300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). City leaders said it’s to eliminate lead-based paint in homes that are in high-risk communities. It’s part of a nationwide grant of $314 million from HUD, which was donated to 77 state and local government agencies.
Thursday in a news conference, Georgia Department of Health’s Health Director Dr. Stephen Goggans, M.D. said lead poisoning is tragic and preventable. Mayor Hardie Davis said this is a focus to create healthy and safe environments, particularly for kids age six and under.
“It’s the first grant of this size and, quite frankly, the only one in the state of Georgia. So it’s through partnerships like this, with the federal government, state and local governments, being able to deliver and make a difference in the lives of people and children in communities like ours,” said Mayor Davis.
Twelve-thousand homes across the nation are expected to benefit from this grant, according to Mayor Davis. Locally, that money will be put to good use near the downtown area.
“Specifically, you have most houses pre-1978 that will be in Districts 1 and 2 that will allow us to play off the revitalization work that’s already going on on Laney-Walker and Bethlehem. But not specific to Laney-Walker/Bethlehem,” explained the city’s Housing and Development Director Hawthorne Welcher.
Welcher said his department has already identified structures to work on and the impact should be seen over the next three to four years.