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The City of Pocatello’s Lead Safe & Healthy Homes program is drawing attention on the national level. Again.
Wednesday, Janae Mitchell, Community Development Block Grant Program Manager, was one of six featured speakers during a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) webinar on “Housing and Indoor Air Quality Considerations During COVID-19.” Featuring attendees from the Pacific Northwest, Janae’s presentation, “Get the Lead Out!,” focused on what the City staff have done to make the program successful in the Gate City.
“It’s nice that Pocatello is getting recognized with our efforts in getting lead out of our homes,” said Janae. “These funds have brought life back into some old houses and knowing that we are helping to make kids safe is the best part of the job.”
One of those successes is the use of a mascot, “Healthy Homer,” who joined in the webinar. Homer accompanies City staff to events and activities in the community, helping to educate citizens on the dangers of lead-based paint.
Healthy Homer declined to comment when asked about participating in the webinar but did offer a thumbs up.
In 2018, Healthy Homer’s efforts to get people talking about lead paint was the subject of a feature on HUD’s website. To read HUD’s story, visit archives.hud.gov/local/id/goodstories/2018-09-21.cfm.
Funding for the Lead Safe & Healthy Homes program comes from a $1.5 million Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control Grant from HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes.
To be eligible for the program, residents must meet income guidelines set by HUD and a child under the age of six must live in the home or visit frequently. Once an applicant is approved for the program, the home will be tested for lead-based paint hazards. If hazards are found, the homeowner will be relocated at no cost to them while the work is completed. Following completion, a lead risk assessor will assure that all lead-based paint hazards are cleared from the home.
So far, 42 homes have been certified as lead-safe. Meanwhile, another eight are in progress.
For more information on the Lead Safe & Healthy Homes program, visit leaducate.pocatello.us/.