U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is reaching across the aisle in his continued effort to improve public housing conditions.
The second-term Republican Senator from Florida teamed up on a bipartisan effort that includes Sen. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat from Georgia, to eliminate lead toxins from old housing projects and developments.
The two, along with Tennessee Republican Sen. Bill Hagerty, joined forces on the Keep Children and Families Safe From Lead Hazards Act.
That bill would direct the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development to identify and remediate properties where lead paint and pipes are still used.
Many Section 8/HUD buildings were built before lead paint was banned in 1978, and Rubio’s office estimates more than 6,300 Florida children are subjected to this contaminant via HUD housing.
Rubio has seen what this toxin can do.
“I first witnessed child lead poisoning at Eureka Gardens Apartments by the nefarious Global Ministries Foundation in 2016. The dangerous conditions at several HUD properties throughout the state of Florida, and the rest of the country, are the result of routine negligence and lack of oversight by HUD,” he said.
“Lead hazards pose a serious risk to tenants, especially young children and pregnant women. It is unacceptable for HUD to ignore this threat. My bipartisan bill would ensure that exposure risks are identified and mitigated, so that no family in HUD-assisted housing has to suffer any devastating effects of lead poisoning.”
Rubio has made public housing and issues at HUD central to messaging around the time of his 2016 reelection campaign, and as the 2022 cycle ramps up there is renewed focus.
Rubio was in Jacksonville earlier this summer trumpeting rehabilitation efforts at the aforementioned Eureka Gardens, now under new ownership with a new name and significant upgrades and structural rehabilitation as part of a group of properties called the “Jacksonville Four.”
The work continues. New ownership and renovations solved the problems, Rubio noted at that appearance, but he added that other “forgotten places” are even worse.