CLEVELAND — In the battle to make Cleveland's homes lead safe, the city of Cleveland and Cleveland Clinic made a major funding announcement on Thursday.
Cleveland Clinic is providing $50 million over five years to the Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition. With council approval, the city of Cleveland is providing $17 million over two years from American Rescue Plan Act funds to the coalition.
"By protecting the health and future of our kids, we are protecting the health and future of Cleveland," Mayor Justin Bibb said during Thursday's announcement at Cleveland City Hall. "This is one example of what we can accomplish through the power of collaboration and this investment is one step closer in helping Cleveland become a safer, healthier, and more equitable city."
The Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition is a public-private partnership with more than 500 members representing over 120 organizations. With the money announced by the city and Cleveland Clinic on Thursday, the coalition has now raised approximately $115 million, which can ensure that all rental homes built before 1978 are lead safe. Nearly 90% of Cleveland homes were built before 1978, the year that residential lead paint was outlawed.
The city says the additional funding will now allow the coalition "to more deeply assist homeowners, assist families facing displacement due to lead poisoning, create a national model for lead safe child care, improve lead screening and testing rates, train additional lead safe workers, and address other health concerns in Cleveland’s housing stock."
“This effort is critical because prevention is the only effective approach. There is no cure and no way to reverse the damage of lead poisoning once it is done,” Cleveland Clinic CEO and President Dr. Tom Mihaljevic added. “I want Cleveland to be safe for all children, and I know this is a problem we can solve. Our communities can only be safe and healthy when every person has the opportunity to live in a safe and healthy home.”
On behalf of the coalition, United Way of Greater Cleveland will serve as the steward for Cleveland Clinic’s investment in the Lead Safe Home Fund. The coalition will also provide an annual report sharing progress made towards bringing about a lead safe Cleveland.
You can watch Thursday's announcement in the player below: