In April 2018, the Wayne County Department of Health, Veterans and Community Wellness (HVCW) began recruiting homeowners and tenants with young children to participate in LeadSafe, a hazard control program designed to prevent lead poisoning. With the support of a $2.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the program assists Wayne County homeowners or tenants in making their homes "lead safe" by reducing lead hazards.
"This is one awesome program. Not only are we educating the public about the hazards of lead-based paint and the dust it creates, but this program also helps boost property values and neighborhoods as a whole for our county," said Tony Matlock, Program Director for Wayne County LeadSafe. "This helps prevent blight and reduces the rate of families moving out. Our clients are more inspired to stay in their homes, which helps avoid another vacant property."After a resident submits an application and supporting documents to Wayne County LeadSafe, an intake coordinator schedules an in-home lead inspection risk assessment. Based upon that assessment, a report is developed and presented to the resident and then to a selection committee for HUD financing approval. A certified lead abatement contractor then begins work on the home. Upon completion, Wayne County risk assessors return to verify that all work was completed accordingly. No costs are paid by the homeowner or tenant. The entire process is funded by HUD through the LeadSafe Program.
Within the past four months, the environmental management unit has inspected 19 homes in Highland Park and 19 homes in Hamtramck. Of those homes, 14 are now are lead safe and 11 are currently under renovation. This immediate success can be partly credited to a creative strategy of the Wayne County LeadSafe team.
"For the first time in our program, we have been mapping out highly impacted areas in Highland Park and Hamtramck. Every single week, we divide each area down to three block sections and go door to door," said Faris Fakhouri, Program Manager for LeadSafe and Healthy Homes HUD Grant. "Our goal is a healthy, lead free Wayne County. We're committed to doing what it takes to reach the families that need us."Residents may qualify for free lead remediation if they meet eligibility requirements. The home or rental property must be in Wayne County (but not in the city of Detroit), have been built before 1978, and have a least one bedroom. There must be children under six years of age, or a pregnant woman, living in the home or visiting for at least 6 hours per week for at least 10 weeks per year.
To find out if you qualify to receive lead removal services, contact the Wellness Division of HVCW at 734-727-2215 or 734-727-2216