Iowa’s Oldest Homes Could Be Hiding A Health Hazard

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa -- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is splitting up $13 million among Marshalltown, Dubuque, Sioux City and Council Bluffs.

The grant goes toward repairing homes with lead paint. This money can help in more ways than one, especially for victims of last summer's tornado in Marshalltown.

“I have worked harder than I ever have in my life after this tornado," Marshalltown resident Cathy Gooding said.

Six months after an EF-3 tornado tore through Marshalltown, folks like Cathy Gooding are still recovering. Gooding has property in one of the hardest hit areas.

“Most of the homes on the north side of Marshalltown are older; built before the oil-based products,” Gooding said.

Gooding's property was built before 1978 and has lead-based paint. That could qualify her for federal grant money. HUD awarded Marshalltown $3.5 million dollars to repair homes exposed to lead-based paint.

According to the CDC, lead paint is the leading cause of lead poising among children.

“We do things like siding if its original paint on the exterior, replacement of windows if they're the old windows, paint stabilization inside where we have chipping peeling areas,” said Michelle Spohnheimer, Marshalltown Housing and Community director.

The city says there are 8,000 other homes built before 1978, and a lot were destroyed by the tornado.

“They lacked insurance and the capabilities to make repairs, so programs like this will allow them to recover faster,” Spohnheimer said.

This grant money is not exclusive to homes damaged by the tornado.

Anyone in Marshalltown who has a home built before 1978 with lead-based paint and lives with a child younger than six years old could qualify.

The city expects to have the funding by March 2019.

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