Lead Poisoning Prevention and Healthy Homes
Cleveland Clinic’s commitment to lead poisoning prevention and healthy homes
With the support of Government Relations, Cleveland Clinic is making significant commitments to address childhood lead poisoning locally. A member of the Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition since its inception in 2019, Cleveland Clinic committed $2.5M in September 2021 to advance the coalition’s local lead poisoning prevention efforts. This initial donation was followed a few months later with an additional pledge of $50M, bringing the enterprise’s total Lead Safe Cleveland commitment to $52.5M and helping the coalition exceed its fundraising goals.
Championed by Cleveland City Council President Blain Griffin, the Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition fosters a cooperative public-private partnership to make Cleveland lead safe within 10 years. Approximately 90% of Cleveland’s housing stock was built before 1978 – the year lead-based paint was banned nationally. Coalition advocacy led the city of Cleveland to enact a historical law that requires all rental units built before 1978 to be certified as lead safe. Cleveland Clinic’s donation supports the coalition-backed Lead Safe Home Fund to provide landlords with loans, grants and incentives to remediate their properties and to educate and engage property owners and families through the Lead Safe Resource Center.
At the national level, Dr. Tom Mihaljevic joined U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia Fudge to commemorate Lead Poisoning Prevention Week in October 2021 and discussed the critical need to solve the nation’s lead poisoning crisis. Both leaders agreed on the importance of shining a light on the disproportionate impact of elevated childhood blood lead levels on underserved communities.
As part of its 2021 centennial celebration, Cleveland Clinic launched the Centennial 100th Street Initiative in main campus’ home neighborhood of Fairfax. The initiative aims to address the human and environmental health needs of residents through partnerships with trusted community organizations. Home to Karamu House, the nation’s oldest African-American theater, the Fairfax neighborhood has a rich history. Yet, like many urban neighborhoods, Fairfax residents experience a range of health disparities stemming from years of redlining, disinvestment and population decline in the community. One of the initiative’s key components would make homes on East 100th Street healthier through assessments and repairs that reduce lead and radon exposure, factors that trigger respiratory conditions and other health impacts. This effort, in turn, will help the city of Cleveland meet its goals for safer housing.
Due to deteriorating wood and the presence of lead, this home had its porch replaced through the Centennial 100th Street Initiative.
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