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Cleveland chips away at its lead-paint problem
A huge backlog and lack of enforcement led to turnover at the top of the Cleveland Health Department
Story by DARRIELLE SNIPES


 
Cleveland has a big backlog of lead-contaminated homes and hopes to remediate 47 of them this year.
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Cleveland City Council's Health and Human Services committee held a special meeting today to get an update on fixing the lead paint problem.

For Ohio Public Radio, WCPN's Darrielle Snipes reports leaders says progress is being made.

LISTEN: Cleveland addresses it lead problem

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The interim director of the city's health department, Natoya Walker Minor, says she's had regular meetings with other city agencies and the state health department to develop a strategy for getting lead paint out of area homes. 

She says a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, has allowed the city to buy equipment to better detect lead. Walker Minor says she'll look into asking neighboring counties to help with a back log of cases. 

The city's goal is to remediate 47 lead-contaminated homes this year. Walker Minor says a state report shows Cleveland closed 118 of 344 cases last fiscal year, but she admits a closed case doesn't mean the lead is out of all of those homes. 

"We completed what we were supposed to do according to our delegated authority. It does not usurp the fact that this house still needs an investigation. And it doesn't negate the fact there was a level of effort on our part as delegated authority.

Walker Minor says some cases were closed when residents couldn't be reached after multiple attempts.  

The health department is looking to hire two full time inspectors -- bringing the number up to four. 
And five temporary employees are starting next week to enter a backlog of three thousands cases into a new computer system. 
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