State money for lead won’t go far

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced over the weekend that his office is “investing” $346,825 in the Buffalo Green and Healthy Homes Initiative. This is the attorney general’s first financial commitment earmarked for lead programs in Buffalo since the initiative launched in 2009.

About 40 low-income, owner-occupied homes will benefit from the attorney general’s funding. That’s in addition to the 882 homes already made lead-safe since the program’s inception.

While those numbers represent a degree of progress, consider there are 85,000 housing units in Buffalo at risk for lead hazards. In other words, about 1 percent of the homes were made lead-safe by this program and the additional 40 homes won’t move the needle much in addressing Buffalo’s lead problem.

Schneiderman joins Gov. Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer in weighing in on the situation in Buffalo. Local officials, who have direct responsibility, have yet to act, although city and county officials are scheduled to meet later this week to discuss options.