From Baltimore Sun:

Joe Pawley says he’s fighting to save his children’s future, and he’s feeling very alone right now.

During routine testing last summer, his 2-year-old son, Aaron, was found to have a dangerous level of lead in his blood, and city health workers found the toxic metal in the paint on the window sills, baseboards and walls of the Pawleys’ rowhouse in Southwest Baltimore.

The family sought help from the city Health Department to hire a contractor to remove or cover the deteriorating lead paint, which could cause lifelong learning and behavioral problems for their three young children. The agency has federal funds for such work. But their application was rejected, Pawley says, and he’s not sure why.

“If you can’t get the city to come out here and help out a homeowner or somebody who has lead, I think the city don’t really care,” he said, as Aaron and another son, 22-month-old Joshua, scampered about. A box of wet wipes sat on the television, for scrubbing his youngsters’ hands of any lead dust they might pick up and put in their mouths.

The Pawleys are one of hundreds of families in Baltimore struggling to protect young children from the lead paint that lurks in older homes. Over the years, the city has helped thousands like them, using tens of millions of dollars in federal funds. Its efforts put the city at the forefront of the nation’s campaign to reduce lead paint hazards.

But now, the federal tap has been shut off. Problems with the city’s program to treat lead paint in homes caused the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to declare the local health agency ineligible for new grants.