Lynn Housing works to get the lead out of houses

LYNN —  When Manuel Barahona found lead in his three-bedroom home, he thought about the safety of his young children.

Friends suggested he contact the Lynn Housing Authority and Neighborhood Development’s (LHAND) lead abatement program.

Thanks to the nonprofit and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Barahona received more than $22,000 to remove lead and asbestos from the 137-year-old home.

“The big thing with lead paint in homes is that children under 6 and their families are a priority due to the effect it has on a child’s brain development,” said Jeffrey Weeden, an LHAND manager.

The lead removal took two weeks in the 1,028-square-foot house, Barahona said. He applauded the crews for their quick and clean job that excelled his expectations.

Barahona, 32, knows the harm associated with lead firsthand. His son was exposed to lead in their last apartment. Nearly two years later, he is still suffering from the effects.

“It’s your kid’s health, you have to worry about,” he said.

He discovered lead on a window sill after purchasing a testing kit from a home improvement store.

Weeden said most of Lynn’s single- and multi-family homes are old and many still contain lead paint which was banned in the 1970s.

Lynn was awarded $2.9 million in the latest round of competitive deleading project money to protect families from the hazards of lead paint. Since 2009, Lynn has received $9.1 million from HUD to make more than 550 homes safe for 300 children. LHAND provides funds to 150 homes a year.

The abatement program is available to income-eligible Lynn residents. For example, a family of four cannot earn more than $73,050. The average grant is $8,000.  

If approved, the lead hazard abatement program includes lead inspection, relocation assistance when necessary, and a deleading compliance certification letter.

To apply for the program, applicants must complete an application on LHAND’s website.

Barahona said that if you suspect there’s lead in your home, don’t delay.

“I recommend that if you have small children and come across lead in your home, you go to LHAND and speak with someone immediately,” he said.

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