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Community Development Launches LeadSAFE Hattiesburg

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Hattiesburg, Mississippi – This week, the City of Hattiesburg’s Community Development Division launched its newest initiative – LeadSAFE Hattiesburg, a program that aims to protect children and families from lead-based paint (LBP) hazards through safety training and lead-abatement.

The program is funded by a $1.6 million lead-hazard reduction grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development that was received by the City at the end of 2021. The program encompasses LBP hazard safety training courses and LBP hazard abatement.

Lead-based paint was an industry-standard in homes built before the late 1970s. In 1978, its use was banned due to safety concerns.

“These grant programs operate out of a necessity to abate and reduce the occurrence of LBP hazards that exist locally for housing units that were built before this time period,” said Demetria Farve, LeadSAFE Hattiesburg program manager. “To do that, we’re hosting a training program that will help grow the lead abatement workforce and will soon open applications for lead abatement in local homes for residents who meet qualify.”

Throughout the months of September and October, LeadSAFE Hattiesburg will partner with the Mississippi State University Environmental Program to offer three LBP hazard safety training courses for lead inspection, lead assessment and lead abatement.

  • September 26 – 28: Lead Inspector
  • September 28 – 29: Lead Assessor
  • October 18 – 19: Lead Abatement Worker

These courses are offered at no cost to the participant, but spots are limited. Participants must have a high school diploma or GED, reside within the city limits of Hattiesburg and must not exceed income limits for HUD.

The second focus of LeadSAFE Hattiesburg includes lead abatement. Residents who live within the city limits of Hattiesburg and who are income-eligible can apply for financial assistance for lead abatement within a resident’s home. The following questions will be used to determine eligibility:

  • Do you own or rent your home? (Either may qualify.)
  • Is the home located in the city limits of Hattiesburg?
  • Is there a child six years of age or under and/or a pregnant woman occupying the home at least six hours per week?
  • Was the home built before 1978?
  • Are property taxes current or past due? Certain past due amounts may qualify.
  • Does the household meet HUD income requirements?

Participation in the program also requires a paint inspection of the property to determine the presence of LBP hazards. These applications will be available in the Fall.

“The LeadSAFE grant allows the city to take a proactive and targeted approach to enhance safe housing and community development in Hattiesburg,” said Mayor Toby Barker. “Abating older homes from the dangers of lead paint and training local individuals to learn a skill will enhance the long-term competitiveness of our neighborhoods.”

To register for the LBP Hazard Safety Training courses or to learn more about the lead-abatement program, potential participants are encouraged to call 601-554-1006 or email leadsafe@hattiesburgms.com.

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