The choice between a shelter and a lead poisoned house is a heinous decision that too many housing-insecure and people experiencing homelessness have to make in our community. Today’s passage of the lead safe law will represents significant step to ending a public health crisis in Cleveland. If implemented correctly, families will no longer have a to make this choice and will make a difference for city children.
NEOCH is excited about the new mandatory “Lead Safe” law passed by Cleveland City Council. NEOCH has been working with Cleveland Lead Advocates for Safe Housing (CLASH) to get city leaders to support and pass a new law that would change how we protect children from poison lead in their homes and at child care centers. The community-based advocacy group developed its own proposal that focused on an aggressive proactive approach to preventing lead poisoning of children that was supported by over 16,000 citizens. The passage of the new law is a victory for citizen action.
CLASH will suspend its second petition drive now that city leaders have finally voted and passed a law that, if implemented correctly, will make a difference for city children. Before the final vote by City Council members CLASH had sought to have 10 amendments added to the proposed law to make it stronger and more effective. They were not accepted. CLASH will work to implement the new law and have the amendments added, to educate the community on prevention, and focus on working with county and state officials to require that all Cuyahoga County child care facilities built before 1978 be “lead safe.”
The key section of the new law includes the significant switch from a reactive approach to the lead crisis in Cleveland to a proactive transformational approach by requiring a mandatory “lead safe” status in all rental units in the city. It is now critically important to avoid discovering dangerous lead dangers in a home only when a child is poisoned. This is what the citizens wanted. NEOCH, along side of CLASH will continue to support efforts to raise the funding necessary to implement the new law. A public and private partnership for implementation of the new law will determine if it can achieve the goal of all rental housing being lead safe.