GCLAC 2008 Annual Meeting an illuminating and resounding success

Submitted by Sudhir Kade on Sat, 05/24/2008 - 18:14.

gclac keynote

Having recently attended the Greater Cleveland Lead Advisory Council (GCLAC) Annual Meeting, which focused on Challenges and Affordable Solutions in Lead Poisoning and Urban Redevelopment, I feel re-invigorated by the energy and culture of collaboration driven to rectify a debilitating lead toxicity problem that is particularly profound in underprivileged communities like East Cleveland.  Held in the welcoming confines of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, a full breakfast was served while the various parties collaborating on this critical social justice, health justice, and environmental justice issue were recognized for their considerable efforts.  Following this introductory, Keynote Speaker David E. Jacobs (pictured) of the National Center for Healthy Housing delivered a stirring oratory which sharply illuminated a drastically underfunded and undersupported health concern and epidemic. 

Key Highlights of the Keynote (points to note):


1.  Green, Low Income Housing and Health represents a tremendous and synergistic

     partnership of efforts - bridging individual and environmental health concerns

     and facilitating living spaces which are sustainable AND healthy (lead free).


2.  The biggest concern is addressing the need to harmonize healthy housing standards

    and mitigating the existing fragmentation among the housing, health and

    development sectors


3.  An intimate link exists between an individual or family's health and the enviorns in

     which she resides. 


4.  Urban housing agencies have been woefully inadequate in resolving health hazard

     problems.  Barriers to harmonization of healthy living standards include fragmentation

     caused by borders like  housing units, zoning, local enforcement, covenants, and

     racial and economic segregation


5.  Solutions offered include : 

     a. An International Healthy living standard to foster uniformity and accountability

     b. comprehensive window replacement - mitigating lead and energy problems

     c.  watered demolition processses that greatly reduce lead dust proliferation

     d.  low income housing tax credits allowing a funding stream for rehab

     e. standardized QAP (Qualified Allocation Plans)  by civic entities that consider

         non paint issues affecting lead levels (soil, dust, ventilation, moisture)

     f.  leveraging an existing program (LIHTC - Low Income Housing Tax Credit)

         to rectify lead toxicity matters.

     g. revision of data collection and research methods to integrate ventilation and

         environmental testing metrics


(among others) ...


Immediately following the Keynote attendees joined one of three Breakout groups addressing various issues relevant to lead :

 I.  Integrating Lead Hazard Control with Healthy and Green Housing

II.  Urban Planning for Lead Burdened Communities

III.  Lead Safe Rennovation : Rules and new Technology for preserving housing stock


I attended Session One - which was an excellent review of smart strategies that integrate sustainable housing design  with design of lead -safe dwellings.   Presenters of this session included Mandy Metcalf and Stu Greenberg of Environmental Health Watch and Andy Nikiforovs of Community Housing Services.  Moderation was provided by Michael Piepsny, Executive Director of the Cleveland Tenants Association.  The panel representation alone revealed a nice tight integration across public and private entities.


The session concluded with each participant receiving a Certificate of Attendance, I stowed mine away in the smartly-designed Lead Safe Living Tote Bags delivered to each of us and managed to network with other concerned citizens as the program drew to a close.


I look forward to joining the comprehensive collaboration toward positive outcomes for lead-safe, green urban renewal!

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