A $1.65 million grant approved from the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes will focus on lead-based paint remediation throughout thousands of homes. 

Partners include Chattanooga Health Department, Chattanooga Housing Authority, Habitat for Humanity, Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprises, Southeast Tennessee Human Resource Agency, University of Tennessee Extension, Chattanooga Head Start, Green Spaces, Chattanooga Community Housing Development Organization, and the Chattanooga Fire Department.  

READ MORE | Southside Chattanooga Lead Site needs federal funding for contaminated soil

This is actually the second time the city has applied for the grant within the last two years, but it's the first time they've been approved. The goal is to increase the number of safe homes throughout the city and reduce the number of children exposed too potential lead poisoning. 

Sandra Gober has been with the city's Economic and Community Development Department for years. She says her department was in charge of spotting at risk homes through on an inventory list. 

"Obviously there is a lead problem. Specifically, we're focusing on homes that were built before 1978," said Gober. "We are talking about areas like East Lake, East Ridge, South Chattanooga and Avondale so just right out of the core. There are more than enough homes we saw that could definitely benefit from this program. So hopefully we will be successful." 

Environmental Protection Agency officials have already committed to remediating all residential properties in the Southside Chattanooga Lead Site that contain unsafe levels of lead within the soil once they receive the necessary federal funding.Gober says homes and rental units must meet three qualifications; the home must be built before 1978 , be occupied by kids ages six and under, and the family income has to be at or below 80 percent of the area median income. For example, a family of four would have to have the income of about $47,000 a year. 

Chattanooga will receive the amount of $1,500,000 in Lead Hazard Control Grant funds and $150,000 in Healthy Home funds.  This will allow the lead-based paint remediation of 75 homes at an average cost of $13,400 per unit, outreach to over 200,000 Chattanooga residents, and training for at least 50 individuals to become lead-based paint hazard control professionals.  

But Gober says this project is more than just cleaning up a hazardous mess, It's teaching families how to stay safe. 

"Because obviously the family could move but it's always the education they will take no matter where they go." 

We're told the lead-paint cleanup is expected to start by May. If you believe your home is impacted you're asked to contact the City of Chattanooga's Community Development Office at 643-7344 or Jennifer Bissett at  jbissett@chattanooga.gov.