TOLEDO, Ohio — The new housing commissioner for Toledo, Rosalyn Clemens, has made applying for lead abatement grants in the city easier.

She's only been in her position for six weeks, said that making sure homes are lead-safe is not just her job, it's a moral issue. Already, Clemens has shortened applications in the hopes it will motivate more people to make sure their housing is safe.

"Due to the age of the housing stock, the chance is very great that you may be living in a house that's not lead-safe," Clemens said.

Eighty-seven percent of the housing in Toledo was built before 1978. That's the year generally used as a benchmark to determine whether or not it's likely to have lead paint.

"There's three pots of money, potentially, that a homeowner and a landlord can access to make your home lead-safe," Clemens said.

The city has grant money available for people who qualify right now. 

If you own and live in the home, it needs to be your primary residence. Children up to six years old or a pregnant person need to live there, or you need to have kids spending at least 10 weeks out of the year there to be eligible.

"So, for those people, you can qualify for up to $16,000 to get your property lead-safe," Clemens said.

Landlords can be eligible too. 

"You can get up to $14,000. You would have to verify the incomes of your tenants," Clemens said.

Other qualifiers include having property insurance, being up-to-date on the mortgage and up-to-date or enrolled in a tax payment plan.

The programs already exist, but don't have the level of enrollment she would like to see.

"We have about 154 active cases. We have closed and cleared only 24," Clemens said.

Clemens said she would love to see the program fill up, because that doesn't mean the program would be over, it just means the city could continue to apply for more grant money to help make more homes lead safe.

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