CLEVELAND — The Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition will be getting help from the Cleveland Clinic and the city of Cleveland in the form of $67 million over the next few years to make residents more lead safe.
According to a news release from the Cleveland Clinic and city officials, the hospital system is providing $50 million over five years. The city is providing $17 million over two years from American Rescue Plan Act funds.
"By protecting the health and future of our kids, we are protecting the health and future of Cleveland," said Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb in the release. "This is one example of what we can accomplish through the power of collaboration and this investment is one step closer in helping Cleveland become a safer, healthier, and more equitable city."
Legislation passed in Cleveland in 2019 requires "that all residential rental units constructed before 1978 be proactively certified as lead safe by no later than March 1, 2023." Nearly 90% of homes in Cleveland were built before 1978, the year lead-based paint was banned, the release said.
According to officials, the additional funding will be used to "deeply assist homeowners, assist families facing displacement due to lead poisoning, create a national model for lead safe child care, improve lead screening and testing rates, train additional lead safe workers, and address other health concerns in Cleveland’s housing stock."
Cleveland Clinic has taken a vested interest in protecting the community from the dangers of lead-based paint.
“This effort is critical because prevention is the only effective approach. There is no cure and no way to reverse the damage of lead poisoning once it is done,” Cleveland Clinic CEO and President Tom Mihaljevic said in the release. “I want Cleveland to be safe for all children, and I know this is a problem we can solve. Our communities can only be safe and healthy when every person has the opportunity to live in a safe and healthy home.”
Officials said the United Way of Greater Cleveland will act as the steward for the hospital system's Lead Safe Home Fund investment.
“Every day, four children in Cleveland are poisoned by lead, robbing them of the ability to reach their full potential,” United Way of Greater Cleveland’s president and CEO and Lead Safe Coalition steering committee member August Napoli said in the release. “United Way of Greater Cleveland knows the factors that keep people in poverty include access to affordable, stable and safe housing. As a trusted partner, we are honored to steward Cleveland Clinic’s historic investment in the community. This is a remarkable example of the power of collaboration among government, corporate and community leaders and demonstrates what can happen when a community rallies together to solve problems that were once considered insurmountable.”
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