The money for the payments in the long-standing judgments -- ranging from $365,000 to more than $4 million -- came from federal funding meant to help poor families find affordable places to live, The Baltimore Sun reported Wednesday.
The Housing Authority of Baltimore City refused for years to pay nearly $12 million in lead-paint injury judgments, claiming it lacked the money. The agency eventually satisfied nearly $5 million in judgments, but the latest payments, made last week, mark the first time federal approval was given to use money earmarked for public housing and subsidizing rents for low-income families in private housing, the newspaper said.
The funds would have been used to pay rents for 700 households in a city with a severe housing shortage, Housing Commissioner Paul Graziano said.
"Those are some of the choices we had to make. Whatever we paid out was that much less to provide assistance to households we're trying to serve," Graziano said.
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