SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The Central New York Community Foundation has awarded its second round of LeadSafeCNY grants.
The grants, totaling $342,500, are designed to help address childhood lead poisoning in Syracuse.
In its first year, the initiative resulted in the installation of lead-free windows and doors in 27 Syracuse housing units; 60 income-eligible residents moved into new, affordable, lead-free apartments built on the Northside; and 36 EPA lead certification certificates earned by area landlords and contractors.
The Community Foundation established LeadSafeCNY in 2018, committing to invest $2 million over four years, to fund a variety of approaches to address the region’s alarming childhood lead poisoning rates.
According to the Onondaga County Health Department, more than 10% of Syracuse children tested in 2018 were shown to have elevated blood lead levels. That rate has improved by nearly 1% from 2017.
This year’s grants are supporting existing home renovations, community outreach, training, and public policy and systems change.
The grants include $20,000 to Home HeadQuarters to offer EPA-certified workforce lead removal training to landlords and contractors.
Frank Ridzi is the Vice President for Community Investment at the Central New York Community Foundation.
He tells NewsChannel 9, “We wanted to make sure that our local workforce was well trained to not only follow the law, but also to make sure they weren’t doing more harm than good by spreading around the dust accidentally as they were renovating.”
“It also allows people to get the new laws in their mind, so they know what’s available, as well as the new types of cleaning and repair methods as well,” says Katie Bronson, Director of Community Housing Initiatives at Home Headquarters.
Ed Perry took advantage of the EPA certified program to learn how to and then did remove lead paint from a property he bought two years ago at 211 Cherry Street in Syracuse. He runs E-Clipz Barbershop there and has a few apartments on the second floor.
“It’s a good sense of calm that the tenants will be able to come in and won’t have to worry about being contaminated, especially if they have children under the age of 10,” Perry tells NewsChannel 9.
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For more local news, follow Jeff Kulikowsky on Twitter @JeffNC9