PATERSON, N.J. – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez, Cory Booker and Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (N.J.-09) today announced over $11 million in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to support the City of Paterson’s COVID-19 response efforts and their mission to reduce lead-based paint in public housing units. Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh joined the federal makers at today’s press conference at City Hall.
“These federal funds are critical to improving the health, safety and well-being of all Patersonians,” said Sen. Menendez. “Paterson has been hit hard by the health and economic consequences of the pandemic, which is why Senator Booker, Congressman Pascrell and I haven’t stopped fighting to ensure the city received its fair share in CARES Act funding. This funding will help homeowners, renters, families and seniors have the resources to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. I’m also proud that we were able to deliver funding to help the city remove lead paint in their public housing units because in 2020, no child should live in a house that’s dangerous to their health.”
“We must remain committed to fighting for federal funding like this to protect the health and safety of all New Jerseyans,” said Sen. Booker. “This federal investment will provide the City of Paterson vital resources to address this public health crisis and also help mitigate the threat of lead exposure in homes. The coronavirus pandemic has taken a devastating toll on communities like Paterson and we must ensure we are doing all we can to support New Jersey families.”
“From Michigan to New Jersey, the consequences of lead contamination in our homes have been tragic. Whether it’s contaminating the water in our pipes or the paint on our walls, we must do everything possible to reduce and eradicate the public health menace that is lead exposure,” said Rep. Pascrell. “We must especially protect children from exposure, and that begins with securing federal awards like this. These funds will help Paterson identify, treat, and prevent lead contamination in our neighborhoods so future generations can be protected from incidental contact or ingestion. Our Senators and I worked hard to secure this award for North Jersey, and we will continue bringing home funding like this that helps keep our water clean and our neighbors safe.”
Paterson was awarded a $3.4 million Lead Based Paint Hazard Reduction grant, which they will use to work with local medical and social service providers to remove lead paint in 66 low-income housing units with children. The lawmakers originally announced this funding last month.
More than 3,000 children each year in New Jersey are diagnosed with lead poisoning from exposure to lead paint and other sources in the home, according to data compiled by the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH).
Last year, Sen. Menendez introduced the Lead-Safe Housing for Kids Act to reduce the threat of lead exposure and lead poisoning for children in federally assisted housing.
Sen. Menendez and Rep. Pascrell also highlighted the $8.3 million that Paterson has received in CARES Act funding from HUD, which the lawmakers helped secure. The funding went to programs such as the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and Emergency Services Grant (ESG).
The CDBG program supports infrastructure, economic development projects, public facilities installation, community centers, housing rehabilitation, public services, clearance/acquisition, microenterprise assistance, code enforcement and homeowner assistance. The ESG program helps fund rental assistance, eviction prevention, and anti-homelessness programs.
Sen. Menendez also called on Congress to pass another stimulus package and include his bipartisan SMART Act. The SMART Act provides $500 billion in flexible funding to states, counties and municipalities to help cover rising costs to combat COVID-19 and lost revenues due to the economic fallout. Funding could be used to help state and local governments expand testing and contract tracing, provide further assistance to residents, hospitals, small businesses and schools, and maintain critical services communities rely on.
In the next stimulus package, the Senator is also fighting to include $100 billion for renters, $75 billion for homeowners, and his $500 billion housing counseling billto ensure homeowners don’t go into foreclosure.
“Contrary to what President Trump says, this virus is going nowhere. The worst is far from over,” Sen. Menendez said. “We need the President to show real leadership and demand action by Senate Republicans on COVID relief for Paterson, for communities throughout New Jersey, and across this nation.”
HUD Regional Administrator for New York and New Jersey Lynne Patton also attended today’s event.