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Cleveland officials eye new plan to drastically reduce lead

December 24, 2017

CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland community officials envision an ambitious plan to eliminate lead hazards from over 10,000 homes in the next decade — breaking with a previous plan of cleaning a few hundred homes at a time.

The new plan for removing lead hazards from homes in Cleveland and East Cleveland would require $159 million in upfront investment to be viable, The Plain Dealer has reported. According to Boston-based nonprofit Third Sector Capital Partners, the return on that investment would be about $200 million.

Third Sector Capital was hired by the Cuyahoga County Board of Health in to explore a social impact bond model plan aimed at drastically reducing lead poisoning threats. The board received a $100,000 grant from the Cleveland Foundation to explore the model.

“There’s no question that we want to think big,” Cuyahoga County Health Commissioner Terry Allan said this month after a private meeting to discuss the plan.

The plan calls for investors to be repaid incrementally over the next 10 years based on savings from reduced costs in other civic areas.

A Cleveland city spokeswoman says the new model has the potential to bring significant resources to increase Cleveland’s inventory of lead-free homes.

More than 500,000 older homes in Cuyahoga County are potential lead hazards, and rental homes in neighborhoods with deteriorating houses are a particular risk for young children.

Cleveland and Cuyahoga County have relied mainly on grants from the federal government to remediate lead hazards. On average, only about 250 homes a year are remediated under the current model each year.

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Information from: The Plain Dealer, http://www.cleveland.com

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