Eight counties | 36 cities | one region

a voluntary council of local governments
serving the missouri meramec area.

MRPC offers Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control Program

For immediate release

For more information, contact
Patrick Stites or Caitlin Jones

ST. JAMES— Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) recently received funds from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to address childhood lead poisoning in the Meramec Region. During the June 9 MRPC board meeting, Patrick Stites, MRPC environmental specialist and project lead for this program, shared program details with the board regarding how area residents can apply for the program that offers up to $15,000 in remediation funds.

“After a lot of effort, we are just excited to get the program off the ground,” Stites said. “According to a study by Boston’s Children’s Hospital and Quest Diagnostics published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in Sept. 2021, children in Missouri had some detectable amount of lead in their blood at one of the highest rates in the country at 82 percent, much higher than the national average of 50 percent. This really illustrates the need for this kind of program.”

The project, which is looking to serve low-income housing (owner-occupied or rental) in the eight-county region, is committed to completing 60 lead-based paint remediation projects by the end of the grant in 2025. In order to qualify, for the program,

  • The home had to be built before 1978;
  • Home must be located in one of the eight Meramec Region counties (Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski or Washington);
  • Home must be occupied by a child under the age of six or an expectant mother must live in or regularly visit; and
  • Home occupants must qualify as low income by HUD standards. Income levels vary by county and can be found at www.meramecregion.org/lphc

“No amount of lead in the body is safe for children,” Stites said. “We are partnering with the local public health departments in the region who already provide blood lead testing to children under the age of six for qualifying families. The great thing about our program is that this is intended to be a primary prevention program, which means that we want to remediate the lead hazards before the lead gets into the kids. Families do not have to have children with elevated blood lead levels to qualify for the program. We will, however, show preference to projects where children with elevated blood lead levels are present to get those hazards cleared as soon as possible for the family.”

For families in qualifying homes, MRPC staff will conduct lead testing with an XRF machine. If lead is found, then a remediation plan is developed to address the issues. Remediation work could involve the replacement of windows and doors and removing old paint and repainting some surfaces with up to $15,000 worth of remediation work to be completed. All work will be completed by licensed inspectors and licensed contractors. For more information or to find out if your family qualifies, please visit www.meramecregion.org/lphc/ or contact Stites at 573-265-2993 ext. 135 or email pstites@meramecregion.org

The application is available online and can also be found at area health departments, libraries, city halls and courthouses. For a complete listing of paper application locations, please visit www.meramecregion.org/lphc

In other business, the MRPC board:

  • Acted on a recommendation from the Meramec Region Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) to approve the FY2023 Transportation Work Plan as submitted to MoDOT. This plan outlines the scope of work to be carried out by MRPC, its TAC and staff, including the prioritization of transportation needs on the state system;
  • Approved the appointment of John Money with Phelps Health Foundation as the at-large commissioner for Healthcare to the board. He replaces Dave Selzer, who retired. The board is now looking for nominations for for-profit representatives in Crawford and Washington counties;
  • Approved the FY22/23 budget with revenues of $3.672 million and expenses of $3.659 million and a surplus of $13,419;
  • Heard an update that the MRPC Annual Dinner and Volunteer Awards Banquet will be held in Maries County on Oct. 13 at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Vienna. Tickets will be $35; and
  • Learned that there are two open positions – one for Crawford County and one at-large for the Meramec Regional Community Foundation.

Formed in 1969, MRPC is a voluntary council of governments serving Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities. Steve Vogt, representing the city of Belle, serves as chairman of the board. A professional staff of 36 offers technical assistance and services, such as grant preparation and administration, housing assistance, transportation planning, environmental planning, ordinance codification, business loans and other services to member communities.

To keep up with the latest MRPC news and events, visit the MRPC website at www.meramecregion.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/meramecregion/.


Cutline: Patrick Stites (middle right) presents to the MRPC board about the Meramec Region Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control Program. Board members and guests pictures left to right: Osage County Presiding Commissioner Darryl Griffin, State Representative Ron Copeland, Grant Wilson with Congressman Jason Smith’s Office, Dent County Presiding Commissioner Darrell Skiles, MRPC Marketing and Communications Manager Caitlin Jones, Gary Brown representing for-profit for Dent County, Ray Walden representing the Mayor of Salem and Shane Anselm representing labor