July 9th, 2019

New Partnership Established to Help Communities Implement Context-Specific Legal Strategies to Address Lead Poisoning

Media Contact: Christopher Bloom, cbloom@nchh.org, 443.539.4154

COLUMBIA, MD (July 9, 2019) — In an ongoing effort to effect change at a systems level and improve outcomes today and for generations to come, the National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH), ChangeLab Solutions, and Earthjustice have joined forces to establish the Lead Legal Strategies Partnership. With funding from The New York Community Trust, the Lead Legal Strategies Partnership will mobilize existing effective tools, resources, data, model policies, and best practices and equip communities to put them into action.

“Many communities have mounted successful legal strategies, including regulatory approaches and litigation against municipalities, the paint industry, negligent landlords, and regulators,” explained NCHH’s Executive Director, Amanda Reddy. “Another widening group of communities are actively seeking these types of solutions and could benefit from the best practices already in place across the nation.”

The Lead Legal Strategies Partnership will focus on providing legal guidance to help communities address existing, time-sensitive housing issues, while also sharing and promoting healthy housing strategies identified in a forthcoming Earthjustice legal scan.

“From housing codes to legal mandates that require testing children’s blood for lead, local and federal laws lay out the rules of the road when it comes to protecting the public from this toxic scourge,” said Arturo Garcia-Costas, Program Officer for the Environment at The New York Community Trust, “When these laws are effectively enforced, they can make a world of difference in preventing lead exposures, and can serve as models for other communities struggling with this challenge.”

The ultimate beneficiaries of the proposed work will be children and their families at risk for lead exposure in the communities receiving technical assistance. Due to the nature of lead exposure, particularly through poor-quality housing, the impact is likely to be greatest in low-income communities and communities of color. Given this, the partnership will also strive to build and enhance the capacity of organizations within the community to work with local government to address lead poisoning. Stated Greg Maio, ChangeLab Solutions’ Senior Staff Attorney, “One promising strategy to help reduce health disparities in these communities is to implement proactive rental inspection (PRI) ordinances, which ensure that all rental housing is inspected without requiring tenants to file complaints against their landlords. Tenants who are the least likely to complain about housing quality issues for fear of increased rent or evictions often represent some of the most vulnerable members of a community, such as low-income families and immigrants. Paired with equitable code enforcement policies and a revolving loan fund that landlords can access to make mandated improvements, PRI ordinances provide a way for cities to ensure that all housing on the rental market is habitable.”

The Lead Legal Strategies Partnership’s initial activities will focus on the nine communities identified as grantees of NCHH’s Equipping Communities for Action initiative, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). Under the Equipping Communities for Action initiative, grantees receive 18-month bundled grant awards aimed at building local capacity and advancing evidence-based lead poisoning prevention efforts through policy and systems change. Future efforts of the Lead Legal Strategies Partnership will extend technical assistance to other communities in New York and elsewhere throughout the country as opportunities are identified.

For more information about the Lead Legal Strategies Partnership, contact Amanda Reddy (areddy@nchh.org).

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About the New York Community Trust
The New York Community Trust connects past, present, and future generous New Yorkers with vital nonprofits working to make a healthy, equitable, and thriving community for all. It is a public grantmaking foundation dedicated to improving the lives of residents of New York City, Westchester, and Long Island. For more information, visit The Trust here: nycommunitytrust.org.

About the National Center for Healthy Housing
The National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) is the preeminent national nonprofit dedicated to securing healthy homes for all. Since 1992, NCHH has served as a highly regarded and credible change agent, successfully integrating healthy housing advocacy, research, and capacity building under one roof to reduce health disparities nationwide. Follow NCHH on Twitter (@NCHH) or LinkedIn or become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HealthyHousing.

About ChangeLab Solutions
ChangeLab Solutions works across the nation to advance equitable laws and policies that ensure healthy lives for all. They prioritize communities whose residents are at highest risk for poor health. Their interdisciplinary team of lawyers, planners, policy analysts, and more, works with neighborhoods, cities, and states to create thriving communities. Follow ChangeLab Solutions on Twitter (@ChangeLabWorks) or LinkedIn or become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ChangeLabSolutions.

About Earthjustice
Earthjustice is the nation’s premier environmental law organization. Earthjustice believes that everyone has the right to a healthy environment. Since their founding more than four decades ago, Earthjustice has defended that right by using the power of the law to fight for the earth and its inhabitants. Follow Earthjustice on Twitter (@Earthjustice) or LinkedIn or become a fan on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Earthjustice.

July 9th, 2019 | Posted By | Posted in News, Press Release, Press Release | Tagged , , , , , ,