CLEVELAND — CareSource, the largest medicaid provider in Ohio, is making a big investment to help Cleveland become a lead-safe city. The healthcare organization invested $5 million into Cleveland's Lead Safe Home Fund.
The contribution will give Cleveland families and property owners the resources they need to make homes lead safe. According to CareSource, the Lead Safe Home Fund total is now more than $25 million.
The director of housing for CareSource said they're thrilled to be apart of the movement, pointing out that housing and health go hand-in-hand.
"We're inspired by the leadership and the way that Cleveland has come together around this issue," said Amy Riegel. "It not only just addresses the individual need of a person having a safe place to live, but it really creates an environment where there can be systemic change within Cleveland to make the whole city safer."
The crisis in Cleveland has been an issue for decades and studies show thousands of children have been poisoned by lead in Cleveland. Even more shocking, a quarter of all kindergartners in the city start school with an elevated level of lead in their blood.
Mark McDermott is the vice president for Ohio within the Enterprise Community Partners organizations and said he hopes the investment helps landlords throughout the city.
"Lead poisoning with children is just such an endemic problem," McDermott said. "We're estimating that the cost to a landlord to make one of their units lead safe is anywhere between no cost to maybe $5,000."
Landlords have until the end of March to clean up their properties and obtain their lead safe certification.