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The Obama Administration has taken a slew of steps to cement its legacy in its final days, including addressing issues in housing.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on Friday awarded funds to support both homeless youth and aging-in-place seniors, and issued a final rule regarding household lead exposure in children. Homeless youth in ten communities will receive $33 million through the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YDHP), while aging-in-place seniors in HUD-assisted housing will receive $15 million.

The YDHP provides funds for permanent supportive housing, rapid re-housing and transitional housing, as well as host homes and other programs. The communities awarded include Connecticut ($6.6 million), Seattle/King County, Wash. ($5.4 million) and Austin/Travis County, Texas ($5.2 million).

“A stable home is the foundation for so many other opportunities in a young person’s life,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro in a statement on the youth homelessness grant. “As a former mayor, I know that some of the most innovative ideas come from the close working relationships that occur at the local level. These local programs are proof of that.”

Grants awarded to aging-in-place seniors in HUD-assisted housing will cover costs related to hiring full- and part-time help through the Supportive Services Demonstration for Elderly Households in HUD-Assisted Multifamily Housing.

“It is so important that we afford our seniors the opportunity to live independently,” Castro said in a statement on the aging-in-place grant. “These grants will help owners of HUD-assisted senior developments to offer the services that will allow seniors to remain in their homes for as long as they can.”

The final rule on household lead exposure in children changes the definition of “elevated blood lead level” to match the more stringent threshold from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), lowering the level to 5 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood. The change allows for faster response to children age 6 and younger in HUD-assisted housing who are exposed to lead-based paint. If the child is found to have an elevated blood lead level, the housing provider must test the home and other potential sources of exposure within 15 days, and ensure the hazards are controlled within 30 days, among other mandates.

“We’re now able to say that the federal government will speak with one voice when it comes to protecting children from potentially dangerous lead,” said Castro in a statement on the rule. “By aligning our standard with CDC’s guidance, we can respond more quickly in cases when a child who lives in federally-assisted housing shows early signs of having elevated levels of lead in their blood.”

Source: Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

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