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Lead Safe Cleveland coalition holds first meeting, commits to summit before July

February 15, 2019

Lead Safe Cleveland coalition holds first meeting, commits to summit before July

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The newly-formed Lead Safe Cleveland coalition, announced at the end of January, met for the first time today, and committed to holding a Lead Safe Summit in the city before July.

The group, which includes city officials and members of local philanthropic, healthcare, environmental and educational organizations, also established five committees and the dates for their first meetings, locations to be announced.

The summit committee, chaired by United Way of Greater Cleveland’s Andrew Katusin, will meet March 11 at 10 a.m. Katusin said the Lead Safe Summit will be held before the end of June and is designed to learn from experts and peer cities who have tackled the issue, as well as a way to “convene the community” to work together on a solution.

The policy committee will consider local policies to address prevention, screening, treatment and interventions, and education and outreach, said committee chair Mark McDermott, vice president and Ohio market leader for Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. McDermott said he hopes that community members with potential policy solutions, including the advocacy group CLASH (Cleveland Lead Advocates for Safe Housing) will join the committee and share their ideas.

CLASH today launched its plan to gather the necessary signatures to get their proposed legislation, which would require that owners of most Cleveland rental homes prove their properties are lead-safe by 2021 or face fines.

Councilman Blaine Griffin, in introducing the objectives of the group Friday, said “we will introduce legislation.”

But, he said “we have to be able to staff it, we have to be able to implement it...We could pass legislation, but legislation without actions is useless.”

The governance committee, which will decide how the coalition will be structured, is chaired by Mt. Sinai Healthcare Foundation President Mitchell Balk and will meet for the first time on March 5 at 2 p.m.

The committee has “no preconceived notions” about how the group will be structured, Balk said, adding that they will discuss the possibility of forming a nonprofit, as well as who will sit on the group’s steering committee. “We are in a state of becoming.”

The resource development committee, which will be in charge of creating and finding money for the Lead Safe Fund, will meet at 8:30 a.m. March 5. Marcia Egbert, senior program officer for human services at the George Gund Foundation, will chair the committee.

Egbert said the committee will look for funding from many places, including state and federal money. “We’ll be the ‘look under every rock’ committee,” she said.

The last committee, community engagement, will be chaired by Environmental Health Watch Executive Director Kim Foreman, and it will meet for the first time from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on March 19. The committee will aim to meet in the evenings and weekends and seek funding for food and childcare to make it easier for residents and families to attend, she said.

The next meeting of the whole coalition is April 12. For more information: Email info@leadsafecle.org.