Utica, NY (WIBX) - The city of Utica faces the possibility of losing a $2.1 million HUD grant for lead abatment.

US Senator Charles Schumer has written a letter to HUD's Secretary asking that Utica be allowed to keep the grant. The funding is in jeopardy because one of the requirements is that the city use half the money by next month. Schumer says the city has only used about $300,000, thus far.

In his letter, Schumer says it would be counterproductive for HUD to take the grant away from a cash-strapped city has a high rate of lead poisoning.

He says Utica has about 170 new cases of childhood lead poisoning each year.

The grant was first awarded by HUD in 2009.