Lead Poisoning Awareness Community Mini-Grant Awardees

The National Center for Healthy Housing is pleased to announce the finalists of the recent lead poisoning prevention awareness community mini-grant competition. We received many exciting applications ‎– 91 applications from 30 states and the District of Columbia in total. Due to the volume and high quality of applications received, the selection committee increased the number of awards from 10 to 15. 

These mini-grants will help communities in advancing their understanding and support of lead poisoning prevention. They are intended to help gather community members and decision-makers to engage in a dialogue around actions that can advance local lead poisoning prevention efforts. Read more below about the finalists and the innovative ways in which they are inspiring both conversation and action in their communities.

This competitive solicitation was led by NCHH and the Trust for America’s Health. Funding was made possible through the Health Impact Project, a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Are you hosting a lead poisoning prevention event in your community? Whether or not you’re a grantee, there are many useful resources that can help you to plan and execute an impactful event. You can start with these helpful guides or check back here in September for more resources.

The 2017 Grantees

City of LawrenceLawrence, Massachusetts
Grant funds will be used to hold a press conference about lead poisoning risks and resources in Lawrence, conduct a lead awareness fair for residents (with information, screening, and free cleaning kits for families), and present information about lead risks and resources to the Mayor’s Health Task Force (MHTF), a multi-stakeholder network composed of more than 80 community organizations working to improve the quality of life for residents. Collectively, these three initiatives will show political support for lead poisoning prevention efforts and raise awareness about lead risks among residents and staff at key organizations.

Department of Energy and EnvironmentWashington, District of Columbia
The District will use the $5,000 grant to plan and host a call to action and working conference that will launch a new citywide multisector Lead-Safe and Healthy Homes Collaborative (“Collaborative”). The vision for this Collaborative is to promote the primary prevention of lead poisoning by expanding the District’s capacity to maintain safe and affordable housing. The Collaborative will provide a sustainable infrastructure for ongoing learning, problem solving, data sharing, and coordination. Input from workshop participants will be used to update the District’s previous three-year Strategic Plan for Lead-Safe and Healthy Homes. The workshop will engage District leaders, decision-makers, and community members in learning more about the problem of lead in our communities and discussing strategies to prevent, control, and eliminate lead hazards and lead poisoning. Participation by federal agencies (CDC, EPA, HUD) and national organizations to share their insights and expertise will also be encouraged.

East Chicago Calumet Coalition Community Advisory Group, East Chicago, Indiana
Grant funds will be used to hold a day-long community event to educate the public about lead poisoning prevention and solutions, including discussions on government action and response and effective communication methods. The first part of the event will include a panel presentation by experts on lead in East Chicago (e.g., a medical expert, a local policy-maker, community member). The second part will include smaller breakout sessions to address specific topics on lead, such as how schools and day cares can improve their public health messaging and support testing and abatement, creating strategies to increase public participation, strategies for increasing government response and collaboration in eradicating lead, and tips for reducing lead exposure in homes and businesses. 

El Ballet Folklorico Estudiantil and Latinos United for Flint, Flint, Michigan
El Ballet Folklorico Estudiantil will be participating with other organizations that make up Latinos United for Flint (Hispanic Tech Center, Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, American G.I. Forum, St. Mary’s Church, La Familia Church, and Luna Pantry) to provide a series of community events aimed at equipping the Spanish-speaking community in Flint with information about community resources and effective policy solutions. Events include the Hispanic Health Fair, Flint Hispanic Festival, Backpack Giveaway, Richfield Public School Academy Parent Night, and El Ballet Folklorico Estudiantil semester recital. At all events we will have two official translators available to speak to the parents and community members regarding the updated resources available in our community in response to the lead-water crisis.

Environmental Health WatchCleveland, Ohio (Glenville neighborhood)
Environmental Health Watch has been working to reduce lead poisoning in Glenville as a partner of the Greater University Circle Community Health Initiative (GUCCHI). GUCCHI is a collaboration of community residents and multiple diverse partners, including Neighborhood Connections, University Hospitals, Cleveland Clinic, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Department of Public Health, Cuyahoga County Board of Health, Cleveland Tenants Organization, and the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland. The collaborative partnership identified the challenges of lead remediation in this community and is moving into remediation implementation. This funding will support a community led event to engage more local residents, with the following goals: increase community awareness of lead hazards, increase knowledge of safe lead dust control, increase understanding and knowledge of lead policies in Cleveland (and specifically increase landlord’s and tenant’s understanding of the rental registry and lead safe certification), and identify more community residents to become community lead leaders. The community event will be held in the neighborhood and provide residents with demonstrations on safe techniques for reducing lead exposure, free screening, HUD applications, and dust control kits.

Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan, Inc.Grand Rapids, Michigan
The 49507 ZIP Code in Grand Rapids continues to lead the state of Michigan with the number of lead-poisoned kids. Existing strategies to protect children are failing to dramatically resolve the problem, and bold new strategies must to be enacted and higher standards must be set in place. The $5,000 will be used to synergize existing resources that promote lead hazards control and the benefits of healthier housing for children. An October launch of Lead-Free GR 2020 (working title), planned by a group of experienced strategic communications professionals, advocates, and service delivery providers, will seek concrete, public commitments from key stakeholders to move a primary prevention strategy that eliminates sources of lead exposure for children in the 49507 ZIP Code. The campaign will be a call to action to get homes fixed not only WHEN children are poisoned, but BEFORE they are exposed. The campaign will work to build the public will needed to get people to be proactive because they don’t want their lack of participation to be perceived as complacent acceptance of lead-poisoned kids. This will be accomplished through one-on-one meetings, pledges, a call to action, and one or more events.

Metropolitan Tenants OrganizationChicago, Illinois (Englewood and Austin neighborhoods)
Metropolitan Tenants Organization will use this funding to collaborate with People for Community Recovery, an environmental housing justice organization, to host a Lead Poisoning Awareness and Solutions Town Hall. The purpose of the event will be to learn with and from community members affected by lead hazards, pediatric healthcare professionals working to restore wellness, researchers and organizers investigating trends, and housing advocates in support of proactive building inspections. The town hall’s primary focus will be lead in homes with children ages six and younger, prevention, and intervention. The conversation will be structured as a panel discussion with audience inclusion to engage residents and experts in raising awareness, decreasing exposures, and increasing advocacy.

Northeast District Department of HealthNortheast Connecticut
Northeast District Department of Health (NDDH) will use the funds to plan and promote two events: a Repair, Renovation, and Painting (RRP) training session and a strategy planning session to engage participants to commit to action steps over the next six months. The strategy planning session, “Healthy Homes Northeast: Love Where You Live and Live Lead-Free - A Community of Care Partnership to Prevent Lead Poisoning,” will be scheduled for Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, October 22-28, 2017. NDDH will follow up with meeting attendees to measure success and identify opportunities to improve community efforts. 

Partnership Effort for the Advancement of Children's Health (PEACH)Durham, North Carolina
PEACH will host a community event in East Durham during Lead Poisoning Prevention Week that will serve as both an educational opportunity and a call to action for policymakers and the community. The event will present policymakers with recommendations for action and engage them in discussion about solutions as well as connect residents with information, screening, and resources for prevention. The meeting will be held in conjunction with the Durham County Department of Health and Human Services and the Reinvestment Partners' Lead Coalition and include community residents, policymakers, and public health workers. 

Pilsen Environmental Rights & Reform Organization (PERRO)Chicago, Illinois (Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods)
The Pilsen Environmental Rights & Reform Organization (PERRO) event will include four key steps to educate and protect the community against lead poisoning and lead exposure in drinking water specifically. The first line of defense is education. PERRO’s partner JustDesign will provide a map locating water main replacements, while community leaders verbally convey the risks these projects pose. Residents can gauge for themselves what their historic and current risk level is based on this information, and individually discuss their concerns, experiences, and next steps with facilitators. The next step is flushing. PERRO’s partner, JustDesign, has developed an automatic flushing device called the Pipedream that can be built for $60 and drains water with the highest concentrations of lead directly to the wastewater line on a timer that can be set for the morning and again after school or work hours. The grant will support sharing this device with the community to provide a maintenance-free line of protection that extends the life of filters. Filtering is the next step. PERRO and JustDesign obtained 800 filters, and this grant will help ensure that the filters find their ways to families with young children and that they are thoroughly educated in selecting, using, and maintaining safe filtration practices. The final step is to bring the community around this issue so that the initiative will live on beyond our educational engagement. PERRO and JustDesign will engage Enlace, a community group active in Little Village, to expand the audience and exposure of this message and campaign, including programming and education aimed at engaging teens and children in their own health by conducting STEM/STEAM workshops.

Public Citizens for Children and YouthPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
The Philadelphia Lead Summit will bring together 75-100 leaders who share an interest in preventing childhood lead poisoning to craft an action plan to reduce lead poisoning in the city and launch a coalition to advance the plan. The event and coalition will recruit participants from the following sectors: parents (including special education parents), the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, the housing legal community, landlords, homeowner organizations, tenants organizations, building trades unions, health funders, hospital and healthcare systems, Medicaid managed care organizations, pediatricians, early intervention providers, and elected officials (Mayor’s Office, City Council, state officials). The Summit will begin with compelling evidence of the impact of child lead poisoning in Philadelphia and an update on the state of rental property inspection and enforcement. The event will also bring in several experts from other cities working on innovative prevention and remediation strategies. A panel discussion will then focus on the current political landscape in Philadelphia as it relates to lead, featuring senior elected and appointed officials. Afternoon breakout sessions will focus on drafting an action plan with key milestones for expanding remediation and inspection in Philadelphia by June 2019. Summit attendees will be invited to join the Philadelphia coalition and identify other individual and organizational partners.

Southern United NeighborhoodsNew Orleans, Louisiana
Southern United Neighborhoods (SUN) will use this grant funding to contact 50,000 families in low- to moderate-income New Orleans neighborhoods, through robocalling, canvassing, flyers, PSAs, and other forms of direct grassroots outreach. Messages will focus on the need for certified water faucet filters, on the role of home repairs and programs that provide them, the availability of SUN as an ongoing information resource, and the upcoming community health fair. SUN will host a community informational fair to engage media, parents, teachers, health care professionals, policymakers, and community leaders in a discussion of and broader commitment to the implementation of lead poisoning prevention practices and strategies.

St. Louis County Department of Public HealthSt. Louis, Missouri (Jennings School District)
The St. Louis County Department of Public Health will use this grant to increase awareness in the city of Jennings by hosting a free lead screening event and educating the community about lead hazards, childhood lead poisoning prevention, and what can be done to eradicate lead poisoning in our community. The event will be held in collaboration with the Jennings School District Early Childhood Program during National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week. A Lunch and Learn presentation will also be provided to the families in the Jennings School District and decision-makers (city and school officials). The event will also provide families with educational materials, free screenings, and incentives such as lead cleaning kits, and HEPA vacuums which will be raffled and made available on loan to the participating families. 

University of Alabama in Huntsville, College of NursingUniontown, Alabama
Grant funds will be used to hold a two-day workshop to inform Uniontown community leaders and members about lead poisoning prevention and known solutions as well as connect communities with policymakers at the state and federal levels. The event’s goals are to raise communities’ awareness and educate them about lead exposure and increase involvement of federal and state agencies and elected officials in working with the Uniontown community to address the problem of lead poisoning. Residents will also be equipped with free lead screening kits and information about existing state and national resources.

WE ACT for Environmental Justice (West Harlem Environmental Action, Inc.)New York, New York
WE ACT will organize and host a roundtable event that will bring together key lead advocates and policymakers in New York City to discuss local action and accountability towards eradicating lead. Specifically, the objective of the meeting will be to raise visibility and create accountability around the lack of enforcement of Local Law 1. The output of the meeting will include the production of a joint statement by its participants, which will be signed by the advocates present. The statement will be submitted to local media contacts and timed to encourage discussion of lead poisoning during the mayoral election to highlight the importance of leadership from the Mayor’s Office in combating lead poisoning.