SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — In the city of Syracuse, a majority of homes were built before lead was federally banned in 1978. Children in older homes can be exposed to lead dust.

“That can poison a child for their whole life,” said Frank Ridzi, the Vice President for Community Investment at the Central New York Community Foundation. “So, the rates are pretty high in parts of the community. County-wide they’re about five percent, but in the city it doubles to about 11 percent.”

The Central New York Community Foundation has a number of outreach efforts to help homeowners make their homes safer. The organization has found that a number of families are not testing their homes and children for lead.

“That’s scary because that’s the frontlines of making sure our children are safe,” Ridzi said.

The foundation is providing a $40,000 grant to fund a partnership between the Center for Court Innovation and Planned Parenthood of Western & Central New York. The groups will host dinner and ‘Kitchen Table Talks’ with neighbors.

“We’re hoping that these ‘Kitchen Table Talks’ conversations will help us get to the bottom of what are the barriers,” Ridzi explained, “What’s keeping everyday people from having this important testing done.”

The Center for Court Innovation hopes to get talks started in January. They will begin with neighbors on Syracuse’s Westside. The goal is to provide them with information and the tools they need to keep their communities safe from lead.

You can visit the Center for Court Innovation’s facebook page, where they share their outreach.