CITY OFFERS GRANT FUNDS THROUGH THE LEAD PROTECTION PROGRAM
Learn more about the Lead Protection program! View the Lead Flyer in English and Spanish
The City of South Bend has grants available to assist making your home lead safe. Eligible households can apply to have lead safe repairs completed, up to $20,000, by qualified contractors at no cost to you! If you meet the following requirements, you might be eligible:
- Your housing unit was built before 1978 and is located within South Bend city limits,
- Annual household income, for all adults 18 and older, is below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) as determined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development – see the table below, and
- A child under 6 lives in or frequently visits the house, or a pregnant woman lives in the house.*
*Addressing lead in houses where a child under 6 can be exposed is a priority, however units without a child under 6 may still be eligible (including vacant rentals). These units are considered low-priority and will only be assisted if funding is available and does not impact the ability to assist units with a child. Low-priority units will be placed on a waiting list and contacted in the event funding is available.
Owner-occupied and rental properties can participate in the program. For rentals, the property owner must agree to participate, and the tenant must income qualify.
If you are uncertain if you meet the income eligibility requirement, feel free to apply and the City will complete a review based on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development income qualification criteria. An applicant will need to submit required documentation, along with a program application, to determine eligibility, view the list of application documentation requirements. An application can be obtained by contacting the City of South Bend.
If you are interested in the Lead Protection Program, and believe that you meet the eligibility requirements, you can reach out to the City with interest by completing the online interest form, emailing Ruth Kouassi @ LeadGrants@southbendin.gov, or by calling 574-235-5826.
Lead is a toxic metal that can build up in the body over months or years of exposure. According to the CDC, no amount of lead is safe and even small amounts of lead can cause serious health problems. Children younger than 6 years old are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, which can severely affect their mental and physical development.
The most common sources of lead poisoning for children are deteriorating lead-based paint, contaminated soil, and lead dust in older homes and buildings.
Houses or apartments built before 1978, when lead paint was banned, are likely to contain lead paint on walls and other surfaces. As this paint chips or flakes, it can be ingested or breathed in by small children, causing lead poisoning.
LEAD IN SOUTH BEND
Nearly 80% of South Bend homes were built prior to 1980 and are therefore likely to contain lead paint. In South Bend, the largest source of lead poisoning in children is lead paint in older homes, however City water is not a source of lead exposure and is regularly tested for cleanliness and safety.
In Saint Joseph County, less than 10% of children under 7 have been tested for lead poisoning in the last ten years (2005-2015). This is far below the CDC recommendation for universal testing. Of those tested in the last ten years, nearly 10% had elevated blood lead levels. Seven census tracts have rates of elevated blood lead levels greater than 20%, with one census tract as high as 36%–the highest in the state.
Higher rates of elevated blood lead levels are typically found in areas with older homes and a high number of homes in poverty, typically near the city center. You can check your neighborhood’s risk using the Indiana State Department of Health Website.
3 STEPS TO LIVING LEAD SAFE
1. GET YOUR CHILD TESTED
Children under 6 years of age are at risk because they are growing so rapidly and because they tend to put their hands or other objects, which may be contaminated with lead dust, into their mouths. The St. Joseph County Department of Health offers FREE lead testing for children ages 1-6. Please call (574) 235-9750, ext. 8, to find a location near you or they can come to you!
FREE REGULAR TESTING FOR CHILDREN 6 AND UNDER
Children 6 and under who live in St. Joseph county can receive free lead testing from the South Bend Medical Foundation. Contact the St. Joseph County Health Department at (574) 245-6755 for more information.
SPECIAL TESTING EVENTS
Children 6 and under who live in St. Joseph county No events currently scheduled. Please check back for future events.
2. TAKE ACTION AT HOME
CLEAN UP LEAD DUST
When old paint cracks and peels, it makes lead dust. Lead dust is so small you cannot see it. Children get lead poisoning from swallowing dust on their hands and toys.
- Use wet paper towels to clean up lead dust regularly.
- Clean around windows, play areas, and floors regularly.
- Wash hands and toys often with soap and water. Always wash hands before eating and sleeping.
- Use contact paper or duct tape to cover chipping or peeling paint.
COVER BARE SOIL
Lead can also be found in the soil as a result of chipping and peeling lead paint on the exterior of homes and leaded gasoline. Children get lead poisoning from swallowing dirt on their hands and toys or breathing in lead from dust.
- Plant grass or spread mulch on bare soil. Encourage children to play on covered surfaces.
- Use raised beds for gardening. Cover sand boxes and other soil play areas.
- Use doormats to wipe dirt off shoes. Remove shoes before entering the house.
- Mop floors to pick up dust, using a two-bucket system with clean rinse water. Or use products like Swiffer to pick up dust and dirt from outside.
LEAD SAFE DIY REPAIR
Before performing home repairs that disturb paint, test paint for lead. If your house was built before 1978, assume paint contains lead. Consider hiring a lead-certified contractor for large repairs. See EPA guidelines for DIY repair for more information.
- Protect yourself: wear a certified disposable respirator with HEPA filter and protective clothing that is laundered separately from household items.
- Work safely: Seal off project area using heavy-duty plastic sheeting and tape. Close surrounding windows and doors to prevent spread of lead dust.
- Minimize dust: use wet sanding equipment, misters, HEPA filter attachments on power sanders and grinders, and a HEPA filter vacuum to clean work area, tools and clothing.
3. GET YOUR HOME INSPECTED FOR LEAD RISKS AND APPLY FOR HOME REPAIR FUNDING
You can live safely with lead in your home. A risk assessment will provide you with information about any lead risks that may be present, as well as recommendations for how to address them.
The St. Joseph County Health Department conducts free lead risk assessments in homes with children under the age of 7, homes where pregnant women reside, or homes where a lead-poisoned child has already been identified.
To schedule a lead risk assessment or to get more information about lead poisoning, contact the Health Department at (574) 235-9582.
Households enrolled in the grant will have a risk assessment done at no cost to them.
Home Water Testing
South Bend Water Works customers can have their water tested for lead for free. While South Bend’s drinking water is lead free when it leaves the treatment plan, lead particles can enter water if there is lead in your service line or other pipes in your home. Request a test from South Bend Water Works at 574.235.5994 or email@example.com.
LEAD-SAFE HOME REPAIR
The City of South Bend has grant funding available to eligible applicants for lead abatement or interim controls that make your housing safer. Property owners and landlords that rent to income-qualified tenants may qualify for grants. Eligibility requirements include: i) South Bend housing unit built before 1978, ii) households that income qualify, and iii). households with children under 6 years old or that have children under 6 frequently visiting, or a pregnant woman lives in the house.*
* Addressing lead in houses where a child under 6 can be exposed is a priority, however units without a child under 6 may still be eligible (including vacant rentals). These units are considered low-priority and will only be assisted if funding is available and does not impact the ability to assist units with a child. Low-priority units will be placed on a waiting list and contacted in the event funding is available.
If you are interested in the Lead Protection Program, and believe that you meet the eligibility requirements, you can reach out to the City with interest by completing the online interest form, emailing LeadGrants@southbendin.gov, or by calling 574-235-5826.
If you are uncertain if you meet the income eligibility requirement, feel free to apply and the City will complete a review based on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development income qualification criteria. An applicant will need to submit required documentation, along with a program application, to determine eligibility, view the list of application documentation requirements. An application can be obtained by contacting the City.
AT-HOME LEAD SAMPLE COLLECTION KITS
The Lead Sample Collection Kit provides supplies to collect paint chips, house dust, and soil from your home. Once we receive the kit, we will send you a report in 2-4 weeks that provides information on the lead levels from the samples you collected and information on steps you can take to minimize lead exposure as well as how to access resources and services through the Saint Joseph County Health Department and the City of South Bend. If you are interested in obtaining a kit, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, and if you are looking for more information, please visit our website at https://www.leadscreeningkit.com/.
INFORMATION FOR LEAD CONTRACTORS AND RADON MITIGATORS
The City of South Bend has established two registries of qualified professionals for their Lead Protection Program. The first is a Registry of Pre-Qualified Lead Contractors who are notified of opportunities to bid on Lead Hazard Reduction work through the City’s program. The second is a Registry of Pre-Qualified Radon Mitigation Professionals who are notified of opportunities to bid on homes that need radon mitigation through the program.
A lead contractor or radon mitigator may request to be placed on or deleted from the Registry at any time. To be added to the Registry, an individual must submit a completed application and all supporting documents as outlined in the appropriate RFQ they are interested in. For lead contractors, please use this RFQ . For radon mitigators, please use this RFQ . Interested parties can send the completed application to the Department of Community Investment clearly labeled with “Lead Hazard Reduction Program Pre-Qualified Contractors/Mitigators RFQ” in the subject line of the email. Contractors can contact Ruth Kouassi at email@example.com with questions about the program or the submission of required documents.
For more information on Licenses related to Lead abatement, please visit the Indiana State Department of Health’s Lead Professional Licensing Page.”
LOOKING FOR A LEAD CONTRACTOR?
If you are property owner looking for a contractor, you should determine if you need an Indiana licensed lead abatement contractor or an EPA certified Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) firm. To learn more about the difference, visit the EPA website https://www.epa.gov/lead/lead-abatement-versus-lead-rrp.
To find a licensed lead abatement contractor, visit the State of Indiana’s license verification website at https://mylicense.in.gov/everification/Search.aspx?facility=Y. Select “Lead Contractor” from the “License Type” drop down menu, select “Active” from “License Status” dropdown menu, then click search. This will provide you a list of all contractors that are license to do lead abatement work in the State of Indiana.
To find an EPA certified Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) firm, visit the EPA’s website at https://cfpub.epa.gov/flpp/pub/index.cfm?do=main.firmSearch. Select “Renovator” and use the location or state criteria to look for a local company.
If you want to learn more about lead-based paint, check out some of these trusted sources: