|12/13/2010: RI AG Lynch and Children’s Health Forum Announce Lead-safe Remediation of 370 Low-Income Housing Units; Launch New Program on Lead Compliance Assistance|
State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
Department of Attorney General
150 South Main Street, Providence, RI 02903
Patrick C. Lynch, Attorney General
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
December 13, 2010
CONTACT: Beryl Kenyon
Tel: (401) 274-4400, ext. 22359
Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch and The Honorable Kurt L. Schmoke, a member of the Board of the Children’s Health Forum, Washington, D.C., today announced that the Healthy Kids Collaborative (HKC), the model statewide lead safety initiative funded by DuPont and conducted as a partnership between the Children’s Health Forum and the Attorney General, has completed lead-safe remediation of 370 housing units in Rhode Island’s inner city neighborhoods and is making a new round of funding available for lead compliance assistance. This compliance assistance initiative is the third program established as part of HKC’s comprehensive approach to prevent childhood lead poisoning and will focus on ensuring that landlords are in compliance with existing regulations, assisting low-income families and enforcing current laws designed to protect families from lead hazards.
Through the Rhode Island Compliance Assistance Program, a total of $850,000 in new grants will be awarded this month to enable programs to begin operating in January 2011. Grants are available to municipalities, nonprofits, for-profit institutions and consortiums of organizations, and may extend from one to three years. Proposals are due by December 17th.
With the $850,000 in funding for the Rhode Island Compliance Assistance Program, a total of $9.5 million will have been awarded through the HKC. Direct grant funding totaling $8.65 million has been awarded to eight Rhode Island organizations over the past three years for lead safety and remediation programs.
The announcement was made at an 11 AM press conference in the gymnasium at the Southside Boys and Girls Club in Providence, which is located within one of the target areas for lead remediation. Joining Lynch and Dean Schmoke in offering remarks were Barbara Baldwin, program coordinator of HKC, Sharon Conard-Wells, executive director of the West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation and Carol Schraeder, representing CLEARCorps USA.
A significant milestone was reached at the end of November, Lynch said, when HKC’s remediation partner, CLEARCorps USA, in partnership with West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation, obtained lead safe certificates for 370 housing units, or two-thirds of the established goal, in Providence, Pawtucket, Central Falls and Woonsocket.
Lynch said, “While we are excited to begin work on this new phase of the unique and highly effective HKC program here in our state, we must also emphasize the significant work that has already been accomplished on behalf of ridding Rhode Island’s children of exposure to lead paint poisoning. The partnership with the Children’s Health Forum has spurred partnerships with companies and organizations throughout our state that, in working in the areas of remediation, education and outreach have been enormously successful in combating lead poisoning. Since we embarked on our mission of increasing protections for Rhode Island’s infants and children, every dime of the money from DuPont is being expended to eradicate lead poisoning.”
CHF Board Member Kurt L. Schmoke, former Mayor of Baltimore and current Dean of the Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C., said, “It has been an honor to be a part of this public-private collaborative effort in Rhode Island that has been able to achieve so much in such a short time. We have the forward-thinking vision of Attorney General Lynch to thank for this program, and it would not have been possible without his support and the support of all of our partners, including many nonprofit community-based organizations, elected officials, city and state government employees, and the business community, who have dedicated enormous time and energy into building successful programs for the children and families of this state. In the coming weeks and months, we are thrilled to launch a new phase of this program focused on compliance assistance and to continue remediating Rhode Island homes to a lead-safe standard. The Healthy Kids Collaborative is on track to award $9.5 million in direct grants by the end of the program, and we look forward to sharing this successful model and the best practices developed here with other leaders across the country.”
In addition, outreach and education programs have been implemented statewide, at a time when other crucial funding was disappearing. The HKC’s partners in education and outreach include Blackstone Valley Community Action Program (BVCAP), Childhood Lead Action Project, East Bay Community Action Program, Saint Joseph Health Services, Thundermist Health Center and West Bay Community Action.
Programs run by these agencies have focused on activities such as developing educational materials, providing case management to families with lead poisoned children, working with WIC offices to educate pregnant and parenting women, educating accountants on tax credit opportunities for lead safe home remediation, working with day care providers to assure facilities are lead safe, providing classes to renovators and realtors to promote lead safe work practices, and making home visits to assess lead safety issued in the home.
The new round of funding, Lynch said, will fund municipal enforcement of lead poisoning prevention laws, legal assistance for low income residents struggling with unsafe and unhealthy housing, training on lead poisoning prevention law enforcement topics and lead poisoning prevention law enforcement data analysis.
“Rhode Island has benefited greatly from a seamless effort to reach as many at-risk families as possible, and we are heartened that the number of infants and children whose lives and welfare are harmed due to the real and present danger of lead poisoning are down, due to the vital collaboration that we celebrate today,” Lynch said.
The Children’s Health Forum is a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing and eradicating childhood diseases that disproportionately affect underserved communities. CHF focuses on outreach, public education and collaboration with state and cities seeking programs and funding to promote prevention. CHF's primary activity has been in preventing childhood lead poisoning, the most significant and preventable environmental health problem facing children in the United States.
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