SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – The City of Spartanburg is now offering a program where they’ll come out and remove lead-based paint from homes within the city limits. They’re specifically targeting homes with young children and/or pregnant women.
“Most of the older homes in Spartanburg, which is about 60% of the entire housing lot–the houses that have been built–have lead of some type in them,” project manager David Maher said.
According to city officials, lead-based paint is a big problem in Spartanburg, with thousands of homes contaminated.
“Most people don’t realize it’s in the house, because as much as you clean it, it keeps appearing,” Maher said. “You don’t even realize it’s taking place. It’s like a slow poisoning.”
But, now, thanks to a $1.3 million HUD grant, the City of Spartanburg is offering to remove that lead from your home for free.
There are a few requirements in order to be eligible for the program.
First, you must live in the City of Spartanburg. Second, you must have a low-to-moderate household income.
“You have to have a house built before 1978, and the next biggest component is a child under the age of six,” Maher said.
That’s because of the health risk lead is–especially on young children.
“In young people, it affects both their nervous system and their brains very, very much so,” Maher said. “A lot of times, it’s looked at as almost autism and they find out it’s not. It’s from the dust in the house.”
If you’re approved for the program, the City’s hired contractors will come out and remove any lead-based paint from both the inside and outside of your home.
The program is available to homeowners and renters.
And it’s not just lead removal.
“They can also get air conditioning, a new roof, insulation,” Maher said.
Those with the City say the project could mean a brighter and healthier future for Spartanburg.
“It’s enormous for health–individual health, but also the health and growth with us going forward in the City,” Christopher George, with the City of Spartanburg, said.
“If we get three houses on this street with brand new outlooks, that improves property values. It has a lot to do with more than just the lead,” Maher said. “We could really be on the path to a city as big as Charlotte in the next five years. We could be doing that to many houses to really be impacting the whole city at the same time.”
The City of Spartanburg told 7 News they plan to offer this program for the next three years and will spend up to $20,000 on each home.
If you’d like to apply, click here.
If you end up taking advantage of the program and are required to move out during the lead-removal process, the City said they will help you get a place to stay while you wait, and they say it won’t last more than ten days.