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COMMONWEALTH LAUNCHES 'GET THE LEAD OUT' PROGRAM

 COMMONWEALTH LAUNCHES 'GET THE LEAD OUT' PROGRAM
 BOSTON, March 24 /PRNewswire/ -- The Massachusetts Housing Finance


Agency (MHFA), in cooperation with the Executive Office of Communities and Development (EOCD), is offering a new low-interest loan program to help low- and moderate-income residents reduce lead paint hazards in their homes. Through the "Get the Lead Out" program, $11 million in loans is available to serve an estimated 1,000 households for lead paint abatement in one- to four-family, owner-occupied homes.
 Lead paint, widely recognized as a major environmental problem, exists in about 1 million homes and apartments across Massachusetts, even though it was banned from residental use in 1978. "Get the Lead Out" is the first statewide effort to help homeowners confront this issue.
 "Lead paint poisoning is one of the most serious concerns facing families with young children," said Mary L. Padula, secretary of the Executive Office of Communities and Development (EOCD). "By providing this financing, the Commonwealth has taken an important first step in eliminating this potential health hazard."
 Loans of up to $15,000 will be made through the program at interest rates of 8.5 percent, 5 percent and 0 percent, depending upon income and a borrower's ability to support additional debt. The loans carry a minimum term of six months and a maximum term of 15 years. Financing is initiated only through participating housing rehabilitation agencies statewide. These agencies will help borrowers at virtually every step of the loan application and lead paint abatement process.
 "MHFA has created affordable housing opportunities for Massachusett's low- and moderate-income families for two decades," said Executive Director Marvin Siflinger. "During that time we have given the highest level of priority to developing programs like Get the Lead Out, that go beyond housing finance and address issues that affect the well-being of the people of this state."
 "Get the Lead Out" is funded through the sale of federal tax- exempt bonds (not state tax dollars) to private investors and savings achieved through the Savings Bank Life Insurance legislation, which converted the SLBI from a mutual company to a stock company. The program was developed in cooperation with the Weld/Cellucci Administration, the Massachusetts Legislature, the Massachusetts Bankers Association and many health and housing advocacy groups.
 In an effort to take the lead paint abatement program a step further, EOCD and MHFA are assisting the Massachusetts Bankers Association and the Massachusetts Housing Partnership in developing a lead paint loan guarantee program which would encourage lead paint abatement in larger rental properties and investor-owned units. The availability of this program will be announced later this year.
 To receive a copy of the "Get the Lead Out" brochure containing eligibility guidelines and a list of housing rehabilitation agencies, contact MHFA's Office of Single Family Programs at 617-451-2766.
 -0- 3/24/92
 /CONTACT: Marty Vaananen or Charlotte Golar Richie of MHFA, 617-451-3480, ext. 254; or Diane Butler of EOCD, 617-727-7765/ CO: Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency ST: Massachusetts IN: FIN SU:


SH-TM -- NE004 -- 1076 03/24/92 12:36 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 24, 1992
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