FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, October 21, 2016


$10 Million Awarded to Eight Nonprofits to Provide Lead-Safe Renovation Activities in Residential Units Built Prior to 1978

Trenton, NJ – Advancing the Christie Administration’s commitment to reduce exposure to dangerous levels of lead in New Jersey homes, Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Charles A. Richman today announced that eight nonprofit organizations have been selected as part of a $10 million pilot program to identify and remediate lead-based paint hazards in low- and moderate-income households, particularly where children and pregnant women risk permanent harm to their health. Lead exposure can disrupt the normal growth and development of a child’s brain and central nervous system. 

Proposals were sought from nonprofit agencies and units of local government with experience in administering lead hazard control and/or weatherization assistance programs. All of the designated organizations are U.S. Environmental Protection Agency certified Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) firms. 

The pilot program will target areas of the state with the highest level of need including Camden, East Orange, Elizabeth, Irvington, Jersey City, Newark, Passaic, Paterson, Plainfield and Trenton. 

“New Jersey has been a national leader in responding to the danger of lead exposure and has made dramatic progress in reducing the risk of exposure through the enforcement of lead-safe building maintenance standards and lead-safe work practices in multi-unit dwellings; New Jersey’s universal lead screening program; public education and prevention activities; and in extraordinary instances, excavating lead contaminated soil and replacing it with clean fill,” said Commissioner Richman. “The Lead-Safe Home Remediation Pilot Grant Program is another tool to reduce lead-based hazards in New Jersey’s older housing stock. More than 500 units will be remediated in the targeted areas to prevent elevated blood lead levels, especially in children and pregnant women.” 

Program eligible units include one- and two-family, low- to moderate-income owner-occupied and rental units constructed before 1978. The program will provide up to $20,000 per unit in repair and related remediation and containment costs. As part of the pilot, the DCA will collect data to determine best practices for potential program expansion and refinement. 

Applicants’ income must be at or below 80 percent of the median income for the county in which the home is located.  Homes with children under the age of 6 and/or pregnant women where there is an identified lead-based paint hazard will be given the highest priority. Priority consideration may also be given to households deferred from the state’s Weatherization Assistance Program due to the presence of lead-based paint hazards. 

In addition to this DCA pilot program, to mark National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (October 23-29), the New Jersey Department of Health is kicking off a #kNOwLEAD public education campaign to increase awareness of all lead hazards for children, educate parents and healthcare providers about the risks of lead exposure in children and encourage them to get their children tested at ages 1 and 2. 

While lead paint in homes built before 1978 remains the largest contributor to elevated blood lead levels in children, there are many different sources, including water from leaded pipes and imported toys, candy, spices, jewelry, cosmetics, herbal remedies and pottery. 

“Over the last 20 years, the incidence of elevated blood levels in New Jersey children was nearly cut in half, even as 20 times more children were tested,” Health Commissioner Cathleen Bennett said. “Through this new campaign, we will continue working with our partners to decrease these numbers and educate parents about exposure risks.” 

The Department is also revising its childhood lead rules to make them consistent with the recommendations of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention. 

Search #kNOwLEAD on Twitter and Facebook, and look for photos of Commissioner Bennett and a half dozen other Christie Administration Cabinet members on social media who are helping to spread the word that there is no safe level of lead in children. 

In addition to social media, the campaign also features a new childhood lead webpage, video messages in English from Commissioner Bennett and in Spanish from Deputy Commissioner Dr. Arturo Brito, a proclamation from Governor Chris Christie, downloadable posters on the webpage, bus advertisements in Hudson County and corner store advertising.

In addition, Commissioner Bennett, Dr. Brito, Assistant Commissioner Christopher Rinn and other members of the Department’s senior staff are traveling around the state speaking to public health and medical organizations at events such as the annual WIC conference to discuss the campaign and ask stakeholders to promote awareness by sharing the #kNOwLEAD posters, retweeting DOH tweets and spreading educational resources. 

DCA Lead-Safe Home Remediation Pilot Grant Program Awards



Service Area

Number of Units

Award Amount

PACO, Inc.

Hudson County (includes Jersey City)



La Casa de Don Pedro

Essex County (includes East Orange, Irvington and Newark)







PRAB, Inc.

Middlesex County




Union County (includes Elizabeth and Plainfield)



Community Affairs and Resource Center

Atlantic, Monmouth and Ocean Counties



Greater Bergen Community Action

Bergen County (includes Passaic and Paterson)



Saint Joseph’s Carpenter Society










The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services share the goal of eliminating childhood lead exposure in the United States. National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week occurs every year during the last full week in October. During this week, the CDC aims to: 

  • Raise awareness about lead poisoning;
  • Stress the importance of screening the highest risk children younger than 6 years of age (preferably by ages 1 and 2) if they have not been tested yet;
  • Highlight partners' efforts to prevent childhood lead poisoning; and
  • Urge people to take steps to reduce lead exposure. 

DCA’s Division of Housing and Community Resources strengthens and revitalizes communities through the delivery of affordable housing, supportive services and the provision of financial and technical assistance to communities, local government and community based organizations.

Tammori Petty
or Emike Omogbai
(609) 292-6055