Public Citizens for Children and Youth

1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Sixth Floor Philadelphia, PA 19103
Tagline: Lead poisoning prevention summit focused on issues specific to Philadelphia.

With funding from the Health Impact Project, a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts, NCHH awarded 15 $5,000 Lead Poisoning Awareness Community Mini-Grants in 2017. These grants were for community events focused on raising awareness, engaging community leaders in advocacy, or motivating policy change around lead poisoning prevention.
As a mini-grantee, PCCY hosted the Philadelphia Lead Summit, which brought together 65 diverse constituents to begin crafting an action plan to prevent childhood lead poisoning in Philadelphia. Summit participants included parents, landlords, tenants and representatives of the housing legal community, national non-profit organizations, health-related foundations, pediatricians, hospital and health care systems. At the end of the day, 15 participants signed on to join the new coalition that will push to expand the City’s Lead Paint Disclosure Law to all rental units built before 1978 along with funding for landlords to remediate if they show financial hardship.
The Summit began with a rousing call to action by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, followed by a summary of existing conditions in Philadelphia and a recap of the current Lead Paint Disclosure Law by PCCY’s Health Director, Colleen McCauley. Two panels of national experts and practitioners from other cities shared best practices and funding strategies to inform Philadelphia’s approach. Later in the day, a panel with the leaders from the Homeowners Association of Philadelphia (the leading landlords group), the Tenant Union, a chief of staff to a member of City Council, and a major health funder shared their perspectives on what would be needed to move the initiative forward.
In addition to the panels, Philadelphia Commissioner of Health Thomas Farley and Commissioner of Licenses and Inspections David Perri briefed the group on their respective departmental vision and plans for reducing lead exposure. Both Commissioners expressed support for the goals of the Summit and their active participation signaled support by Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration.
The afternoon session was dedicated to break out groups on outreach, communications and cost & revenue alternatives. Each group was charged with identifying concrete needs and strategies to strengthen Philadelphia’s Lead Paint Disclosure Law.
Initially, PCCY encountered some initial skepticism from staffers at the Department of Licenses and Inspection and the Department of Public Health. Several staff members questioned the need for a Summit in light of existing initiatives in both departments. PCCY persisted and worked with the Mayor’s Office to ensure that the City understood the goals of the Summit and that the Commissioners’ roles. The fact that both Commissioners spoke at length at the Summit created a singular opportunity for participants to hear directly from agency heads and, simultaneously, for city leaders to get a sense of the energy in the room for change.
The Summit enabled PCCY to strengthen relationships with major regional and national non-profit partners including senior leaders from NCHH and Green and Healthy Homes Initiative and practitioners from New York and New Jersey, improved PCCY’s ability to win future funding to support lead work, and led to future opportunities to testify before the City Council.

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