Getting the Lead Out

The Central New York Community Foundation announced this week that they will be investing more than $2 million to help end childhood lead poisoning in Syracuse as part of its new LeadSafeCNY initiative.

Home HeadQuarters, in its 20+ year history, has continuously worked to address lead in Syracuse housing through affordable home improvement lending, substantial rehabilitation and new construction, but with 90 percent of the city's occupied units being built before lead paint was federally banned from use in 1978, there is always more work than available funding. The Community Foundation's announcement and the combined work of the City of Syracuse, our own Green & Healthy Homes Initiative and the Onondaga County Health Department brings welcome focus and energy to Syracuse's lead issue.

The initiative's first grants are going to support new housing construction, existing home renovations, community outreach and training and workforce development. Home HeadQuarters will target low-income rental housing for a no-cost window and exterior door replacement program for low-income rental property tenants in the high-need neighborhoods in Census Tracts 23 and 54 (See Map) that is expected to begin later this year. Home HeadQuarters, through the LeadSafeCNY Initiative will also provide assistance for EPA certified training to contractors and landlords and will provide education and outreach to residents with Tomorrows Neighborhoods Today (TNT).

A number of the Community Foundation's first LeadSafeCNY grants are in support of strategies outlined in Get the Lead Out: Lead Poisoning Prevention Plan, produced by the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative Greater Syracuse (GHHI) at Home HeadQuarters and released officially this month. The plan describes actions that can be taken to decrease exposure to lead hazards, protect at-risk populations and encourage cross-program coordination.

To read the plan and learn more, click on the booklet cover.