Cleveland Lead Advocates for Safe Housing supports new ‘Lead Safe” law passed by Cleveland City Council
(Plain Press, August 2019)Cleveland Lead Advocates for Safe Housing (CLASH) announced its support for a new mandatory “Lead Safe” law passed by Cleveland City Council on July 24th. CLASH has been working with local citizens to get city leaders to support and pass a new law that would change how we protect children from poison lead in their homes and at child care centers. The community-based advocacy group developed its own proposal that focused on an aggressive, proactive approach to preventing lead poisoning of children that was supported by over 16,000 citizens. The passage of the new law is a victory for citizen action.
“We have finally taken a significant step to ending a public health crisis in Cleveland,” says Jeff Johnson, CLASH member and former Cleveland City Councilman. “For too long inaction and inattentiveness prevented the protection of our children from lead poisoning. Let this first step of a new law, a new approach, keep us committed to our children and to their futures.”
CLASH will suspend its second petition drive now that city leaders have finally voted and passed a law that, if implemented correctly, will make a difference for city children. Before the final vote by City Council members CLASH had sought to have 10 amendments added to the proposed law to make it stronger and more effective. They were not accepted. CLASH will work to implement the new law and have the amendments added to educate the community on prevention and focus on working with county and state officials to require that all Cuyahoga County child care facilities built before 1978 be “lead safe.”
“Today’s passage of the lead safe law validates the years-long efforts of CLASH members to push for a preventative testing standard,” said Rebecca Maurer, CLASH’s attorney and drafter of the group’s own lead safe legislation. “It is a victory for community organizing, a victory for good public policy, and — most importantly — a victory for Cleveland’s children. Nevertheless, as we’ve known from the beginning, passing the law today is only the first step. Now, Cleveland must turn its attention to implementing and enforcing the law. CLASH will continue its work to ensure that the vision of the law is implemented.”
The key section of the new law includes the significant switch from a reactive approach to the lead crisis in Cleveland to a proactive transformational approach by requiring a mandatory “lead safe” status in all rental units in the city. It is now critically important to avoid discovering dangerous lead dangers in a home only when a child is poisoned.
This is what the citizens wanted. CLASH will continue to support efforts to raise the funding necessary to implement the new law. A public and private partnership for implementation of the new law will determine if it can achieve the goal of all rental housing being lead safe.
ABOUT CLEVELAND LEAD ADVOCATES FOR SAFE HOUSING
Cleveland Lead Advocates for Safe Housing (CLASH) is dedicated to protecting the most vulnerable citizens in the City of Cleveland. Member organizations include the Cleveland Lead Safe Network, Single Payer Access Network, Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus, Black Lives Matter of Cuyahoga County, Cleveland End Poverty Now Coalition, Organize!Ohio, Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, Cleveland Democratic Socialists of America, Black on Black Crime, Inc., Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition, and the Ohio Students Association/Cleveland Chapter.