KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The Unified Government of Wyandotte County receives a more than $3.9 million grant to help protect families in Kansas City, Kansas from lead paint and other household safety hazards.

The UG said even though lead-based paint was phased out in 1978, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, who awarded the grant, estimates that 38 million housing units contain some lead-based paint that was applied before the ban.

HUD presented the grant money to Mayor Tyrone Garner and UG Public Health Director Juliann Van Liew at a ceremony last week.

“Many factors that affect the health and quality of life for Wyandotte County residents also put them at greater risk for lead exposure,” the UG said in a news release Tuesday evening. “For example, 25% of children in Wyandotte County live in poverty, compared to 13% of children overall in Kansas. This means a greater percentage of children in Wyandotte County are more likely to live in older, more poorly maintained buildings that could likely contain lead-based paint, increasing their risk of lead exposure.”

“This grant will allow the Unified Government to address areas that have been historically disinvested and disenfranchised,” Garner said. “With a poverty rate of 20%, we will be able to provide equitable resources and craft solutions to improve the lives of those otherwise unable to address the negative impacts caused by lead in our communities.”

The UG said more details on the program will be available in the coming months.