Lead Safe Housing for Kids Act

Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) is not covered by the Cleveland Lead Safe Certificate Plan. CLASH supports the Lead Safe Housing for Kids Act in the US Congress which would enact comparable protections for public housing tenants and would extend protections for tenants living in project based rental assisted housing and housing voucher units.

October 11, 2022. HUD Lacked Adequate Oversight of Lead-Based Paint Hazard Remediation in Public Housing. "Without a plan to manage lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards in public housing and ensure that public housing agencies implemented lead-based paint hazard reduction, HUD lacked assurance that (1) families with children under 6 years of age residing in public housing were not exposed to lead-based paint hazards and, thus, protected from lead exposure and (2) its procedures for eliminating lead-based paint hazards in public housing were effective."

This finding is another in a long line of investigation of HUD's failure to effectively address lead hazards in Federally assisted housing.

May 12, 2021. Lead Paint in Housing: Key Considerations for Adopting Stricter Lead Evaluation Methods in HUD's Voucher Program, GAO-21-325.

October 26, 2021, The Danger of Lead Paint Hazards in Two HUD Programs. "Lead exposure poses significant health risks—particularly to young children—because it can damage their still-developing brains and nervous systems. Prior to a 1978 ban on the use of lead in paint, lead paint was commonly used in homes. And despite this regulation and efforts to remove lead paint, there are concerns that it can still be found in federally funded housing as well as locations with higher rates of those living in poverty. In recognition of Lead Poisoning Awareness Week, today’s WatchBlog post explores our work on the dangers of lead poisoning in two Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs—Project-Based Rental Assistance and the Housing Choice Voucher program. These programs provide rental subsidies to property owners and renters, respectively, to keep housing affordable for tenants living in poverty.  

EarthJustice statement on LSHKA

Lead in Federally-Assisted Housing Endangers Vulnerable Families across the Country Congress must act now to allow HUD to protect families receiving housing assistance 

“It is past time for HUD to adopt a primary prevention strategy for addressing lead in federally assisted housing. Preventing lead exposure is cheaper than fixing the problem after a child has been poisoned. Not only cheaper, but morally imperative,” said Darrick Wade, board of directors, Cleveland Lead Advocates for Safe Housing.

Press Advisory: Lead Safe Housing for Kids Act introduced in the US House of Representatives.

US Representatives A. Donald McEachin (VA-04), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), and Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04) introduced the Lead Safe Housing for Kids Act. This proposed legislation will protect families living in Federally assisted housing from exposure to lead hazards in their homes.

Under the bill, public housing authorities, property owners receiving Federal assistance, and landlords in the Housing Choice Voucher program will be required to have a lead risk assessment and remediate lead hazards from any rental unit built before 1978 where a child under the age of 6 years old will be residing. 

Provisions include:

Lead activist Darrick Wade, whose son was poisoned by exposure to lead in Lakeview Terrace apartments, says: “The LSHKA bill will allow children living in public housing the protections they need to live a healthy and productive life.”

Childhood lead poisoning from paint and soil continues to be a problem in older communities where properties were built before 1978, the year that lead was banned from residential paint. Ohio is particularly hard hit. A recent story in JAMA-Pediatrics shows that Ohio has over twice the national rate of children with elevated blood lead levels. That number of children exposed to lead poisoning will increase because the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently lowered the reference standard for lead exposure from 5 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood to 3.5 micrograms. Even at that level, the CDC acknowledges that there is no safe level of lead exposure.

The goal of LSHKA is to test and remediate at-risk properties before children come into contact with home-based lead sources. 

A companion bill was introduced in the US Senate by Senator Dick Durbin in 2021. Durbin’s bill is co-sponsored by Ohio Senator Rob Portman. 

In 2019, Cleveland Lead Advocates for Safe Housing sponsored an initiative petition to call for enactment of the Lead Safe Certificate Law in the City of Cleveland in July 2019. LSHKA will fill a gap in the coverage of the Lead Safe Certificate Law which doesn’t appear to cover public housing properties.

For more information on the bill,  contact Shahid at Shahid.Ahmed@mail.house.gov

For a local perspective call or text: Darrick Wade (216) 732-0874 or email to clevelandleadsafe@gmail.com

Local Reactions

Rental Information Network in Ohio says LSHKA could make a difference to Ohio families.