LEWISTON — U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King said Monday the Maine State Housing Authority will be awarded $3 million to eliminate lead hazards in housing for low-income families.

The grant will be part of a federal Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration program. MaineHousing will also receive $400,000 in Healthy Homes supplemental funding. The two programs will help tackle lead hazards, largely from chipping and peeling paint, in nearly 350 apartment units in Maine.

“Lead poisoning poses a very serious health threat, particularly in New England, where our housing stock is older than in most other states,” Collins said in a prepared statement announcing the grant.

Collins, R-Maine, has focused on the issue of lead poisoning in Maine children since she was first elected to the U.S. Senate. The federal support will be key in helping to provide property owners and housing officials with the help and incentive needed to clean up lead hazards, she said.

King, I-Maine, said the federal money was welcomed news but suggested all levels of government must keep the focus on protecting children against lead exposure, especially when it comes to affordable housing efforts in Maine.

“It’s important that we continue to work across all levels of government to ensure that Maine people have access to safe housing that will allow them to thrive, and this funding will be an important step in that direction,” King said in a prepared statement.

According to a news release from King and Collins, the Maine State Housing Authority will partner with the Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, Aroostook County Action Program, Penquis Community Action Agency, Community Concepts, Healthy Homes Advisory Council, the Maine Indoor Air Quality Council, homeowners and rental property owners to implement the program.

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