The TANF funds
that flow from the Feds to the State then go to the County, and the county has
the ability to impose controls on those funds. Indeed, Monroe County
currently has a program that identifies and rewards property owners who
maintain quality housing and who wish to receive direct rent payments – they
send in an inspector to ensure that the house is habitable. But they don’t
check for lead hazards.
We don’t need
to wait for the federal or state governments to act on this – the single most
effective thing that our community could do to prevent childhood lead
poisoning is to add a test for lead hazards to that quality housing inspection
and require that properties meet EPA standards before public money can be
We also need to
provide an incentive and reward for those property owners who undertake the
expense of lead hazard control. Just as the Fed and State governments can
offer tax incentives, so can the County. We do it for businesses and high end
properties all the time. The county has an even more attractive opportunity
than the state and fed governments – the county has the dreaded PROPERTY TAX.
By the same
token, the County health department also has the authority to reduce the level
of blood lead that triggers a home inspection, and it has the ability to
require clearance testing after county-ordered lead hazard control work.
These actions could be taken today, and children would be protected tomorrow.
Status: County HD is supportive, but needs support from county