The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 24 million homes still have significant lead-based paint hazards today, and approximately 310,000 children have elevated levels of lead in their blood, with a disproportionate number hailing from minority and low-income communities. It is estimated that one in every five African-American children living in an older home has an elevated blood level, and approximately 85 percent of all children with high blood lead levels are Medicaid-eligible.
The mission of the Children's Health Forum is in part to educate the public on the urgency of the fight against childhood lead poisoning, and to assist in the efforts needed to implement successful programs in communities across the nation. To this end, CHF has worked with Senators Christopher Bond (R-MO) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) since 2003 to promote the Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration (LHRD) Grant Program, designed to direct $50 million per year toward lead hazard reduction in high risk urban areas. Since the program's inception, HUD has awarded nearly $288 million to 52 of the most at-risk communities. In order to effectively promote the program, CHF developed a national public health awareness campaign.
With the goal of increased awareness and participation in mind, CHF developed a comprehensive outreach campaign that utilized a variety of mediums to educate potential applicants on the urgency of the issue and the proposed solution - the Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration Grant Program. Through targeted mailings, electronic communication, phone calls, webcasts and the use of the world wide web, CHF annually contacts more than 300 jurisdictions across the nation to provide resources and education on the requirements of the program and benefits of applying. The campaign has raised awareness of the available funding and ensures that HUD receives a greater number of applications, awards more funding, and does not leave any appropriated funds unspent.
In 2006, CHF formally partnered with HUD and Healthy Housing Solutions to execute the public health awareness campaign in a formal capacity. Utilizing lessons learned from years prior and feedback from the community, CHF was positioned to take the campaign to the next level. Accordingly, the results of this intensive communications and outreach effort were significant, including a 190% increase from the number of applications received in response to the 2005 and 2006 funding. CHF has since continued the campaign to ensure the program's success and continued funding and again contracted with HUD in 2009 to repeat its efforts.