EDITOR'S NOTE: We incorrectly reported that the tenant we talked to in a previous version of this story was paying rent to a landlord. We have since learned that she paid utility bills, but not rent. The house belongs to her son’s father, who has been unsuccessfully attempting to apply for a grant to get lead removed from the home.
A Cleveland Advocates for Safe Housing report revealed that in checking 323 of 406 Cleveland lead hazard homes, 227 of them had lead warning signs that were removed by the landlords or tenants.
Yvonka Hall, Co-Founder of Cleveland Advocates for Safe Housing or CLASH, said her agency's Oct. 21 report indicates an alarming number of Cleveland homes deemed a lead hazard don't have the warning placards posted.
According to an Ohio Department of Health database, 406 Cleveland rental homes have been found to be a lead hazard that has left at least one child with lead poisoning. But Hall said her agency's report revealed that in checking 323 of the homes, 227 of them had the lead warning signs that were removed by the landlords or tenants, and 127 of the homes were still occupied, potentially exposing even more children to a lead risk.
Hall said it's crucial the City of Cleveland health department, building inspectors, and the law department follow up on these homes and issue citations to violators.
"Now the next family that comes along doesn’t realize that that home has been on the placarded home list, it should not have any residents living in it," Hall said. “The people on the ground whether it’s inspectors, should go around and make sure those placards haven’t been removed, and if they have, to do everything legally possible to make sure that children are not moving into those houses.”
“The Law Department should be coming after these landlords with everything that they have in their power.”
The City of Cleveland responded to those concerns and told News 5 it will be checking with the city health department to get a status report on homes that have posted warning signs.
If you're dealing with lead issues at your Cleveland area home, here are some grant lead mitigation resources from CHN Housing Partners.