LOS ANGELES (AP) – Nearly $100 million in federal stimulus money will go toward a program to remove lead-based paint and other health and safety hazards from low-income homes, Vice President Joe Biden announced Friday.

Biden announced the plan in the courtyard of an affordable-housing development operated by a community group that is getting $875,000 of that money to help identify and remove toxic paint and other health hazards from 225 Los Angeles homes.

Biden said the program will immediately employ workers to do the lead-abatement work.

He said it will also save the country millions in future health care costs that otherwise would be spent treating people suffering from neurological damage, slowed growth and other ailments connected to growing up in contact with lead-based paint.

South Los Angeles’ Esperanza Community Housing Corp. was among 53 local programs in 20 states and Washington, D.C., getting grants through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to remove lead-based paint and other hazards such as mold. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act includes $13.61 billion for projects administered by HUD.

Biden used much of the press conference to stress the Obama administration’s commitment to low-income communities, which are most affected by lead-based paint because they include older homes where the toxic paint was used.

“It’s unacceptable that some 40 percent of homes in this country still contain lead-based paints, the majority of which are in low-income areas where homes have not been renovated in decades,” he said. “If we are truly going to revitalize our communities, we need to help families that are most vulnerable.”


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