WACO, Texas —

U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson awarded the city of Waco with a $1.5 million grant Wednesday. 

The grant will go towards protecting low-income families with children from the dangers of lead-based paint and other home health hazards. 

Carson presented the hefty check to mayor Kyle Deaver and other city leaders at the Dewey Community Center. Carson said his work in the medical field inspired him to educate others on how to prevent lead exposure. 

“Lead poisoning and its impact on our children is uniquely personal for me,” Carson said. “Prior to becoming HUD Secretary, my life’s work as a pediatric neurosurgeon was to heal, treat and protect the human brain.”

HUD’s Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control and Reduction Demonstration grant programs strive to promote local children’s health by helping officials identify and clean up harmful lead in more than 140 housing units in Waco. 

Mayor Deaver said the city sees the problem. 

“Any house built prior to the ‘70s is likely to have—or have had—lead-based paint in it,” Deaver said. 

After Carson presented Waco with the large grant, he met with local organizers from the health department, Waco Independent School District, Lowe’s, the Waco Foundation, Mission Waco and other groups to hear their concerns and strategize with them. 

One person excited to see various groups invested in the area’s health improvements was District 3 City Councilman John Kinnaird. 

“It’s truly a collaborative community effort and we’re excited with this support and with these resources to really get a kick off the ground and really make a difference in our neighborhoods,” Councilman Kinnaird said. 

For information about lead regulations from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, visit its website