SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Felicia Noel bought her house on the Southside of Syracuse 25 years ago. She was concerned about lead because her grandchildren visit often.

“For their safety, and for mine, too, it was important for me to try to get some things done,” Noel said.

She received assistance through the Central New York Community Foundation. The foundation works with Home HeadQuarters and received a $300,000 grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation to replace exterior doors and windows for people who are considered low-income.

“The Community Foundation believes safe housing, safe and affordable housing, is a right, not a privilege,” said Robyn Smith, the foundation’s Director of Strategic Initiatives.

Noel said the work to replace her windows took about a week and she says it saved her about $7,000.

The City of Syracuse is a focus of these lead removal efforts because a majority of the homes were built before lead was federally banned from use in 1978.

Smith explained, “If not maintained well, people will have painted and repainted over the surfaces and what happens is the paint begins to chip and peel. We also found that lead paint tastes good.”

For that reason, Smith said children might be inclined to bite on the window sill. So window replacement is crucial.

Noel is relieved for her grandchildren and her message to the foundation is simple, “Thank you,” she said.

If you need assistance with lead removal, Smith said you can call 211. You can also visit for more information.