The city of Covington, Ky., has opened the application period for homeowners seeking to remove lead-based paint from their homes, Cincinnati Public Radio reports. The city is hoping to help at least 70 homeowners with its $1.66 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Covington is working with the Northern Kentucky Health Department to identify residences where kids are already suffering. Federal Grants Manager Jeremy Wallace says those will be given top priority.

"Covington is an older river city," Wallace said. "The predominance of our homes are pre-1978. And also in lower-income neighborhoods, you typically have housing that might not be in as good of condition as other neighborhoods."

Covington Housing Development Specialist and Risk Assessor Archie Ice explains a radio-active gun goes deep into paint layers to determine if there is lead-based paint. Then if there are people living in the house, an assessor would determine where the children play to prioritize.

Other cities across the country have learned that receiving a federal grant is not the final step to removing lead-based paint from homes. Richmond, Va., completed only 10 lead-removal projects in three years despite being awarded a $2.7 million grant. Richmond's chief problem derived from homeowners and landlords not being willing to allow the city to do work on their property. Allegheny County in Pittsburgh was unable to help families with its $3.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development due to a shortage of contractors qualified and certified to do the work. Jackson, Mich., struggled to spend the funds from its federal grant and completed no projects in 12 months, citing strict qualifications and regulations.

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