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Lead levels drop in Michigan kids after Flint spike. But so does testing.

This article highlights an important notion – that it is always important to investigate studies. Even though the number of children with elevated lead levels has decreased, testing has also dropped. With a smaller number of people having their children tested, there are cases of unidentified lead poisoning that do not get entered into this count.

With an aging housing stock, it’s more important than ever to have your child tested for elevated blood lead levels. If your house was built before 1978, there is a possibility that lead hazards exist in your home. Taking preventative steps can ensure the health of your child and create a healthy environment in your home.

To read the full article published by Bridge Magazine, click here.

Detroit issues more than 1,000 tickets to landlords amid rental property crackdown

According to an article by Kurt Nagl at Crain’s Detroit, the City of Detroit has issued more than 1,000 code violation tickets in the 48215 zip code as part of city’s push to bring rental properties into compliance. Some properties received two tickets – one for code non compliance and one for improper lead abatements.

The city is looking to bring the condition of housing stock to a higher standard and ensure that homes will be safe and healthy environments for families looking to rent. This is a valiant effort by the city to improve the rate of compliance. For example, 52 of the approximately 500 landlords in the 48215 zip code are compliant this year – tripling last year’s number of 17 compliant landlords in the area.

However, this is only the crust of task being faced by the Building Safety Engineering and Environmental Department at the City of Detroit. “Of more than 60,000 rental properties in the city, only around 800 are compliant” says department Director Dave Bell. While there are many strides left to be taken, the city pushes on towards bringing rental properties into compliance.

In addition to the crackdown on noncompliance, the city is offering tenants in the current enforcement zip codes an opportunity to escrow their rent money until their rental property receives a certificate of compliance. Managed by PNC Bank, the city has installed 45 DivDat kiosks for renters to submit their rent into escrow. The kiosks also provide means to pay taxes and water, sewage, and energy bills. Landlords can recover the rent in escrow if the certificate of compliance is obtained within 90 days of the escrow account opening. If the certificate is not granted within that time-frame, then the renter is repaid their rent.

 

Click here to read the full article

Detroit landlords ignoring rental inspection rules, city says

The Building Safety Engineering & Environmental Department of the City of Detroit is making a push to get more rental properties into compliance with city code and lead ordinances. Despite a low rate of properties coming into compliance so far, we applaud the city for this effort and look forward to working with property owners to make their rentals lead-free. The Detroit News has a great update on progress so far and what is to come next. To read the entire article, please click here.

Lead Safe Gardening & Resources Environmental Health Chat

CLEARCorps Detroit had the pleasure of presenting at a Wayne State Center for Urban Responses to Environmental Stressors (CURES) Environmental Health Chat on May 13, 2017. The focus of the event was on Lead-Safe Gardening tips and resources available to help the community grow their food for healthy lifestyles.

Detroit announces effort to prevent lead poisoning from blight

Thank you to WJBK for highlighting our partnership with the City of Detroit and Wayne State University. We have been reaching out door to door in the 48214 zip code and are excited to see that this effort will be expanding. Lead prevention starts before children are poisoned!

 

Read the full article here

Healthier kids: An action plan for Michigan

Thank you to the Detroit Free Press for highlighting how often lead is found in our homes in Detroit. We appreciate you taking the time to speak with us on the work that CLEARCorps Detroit is doing to combat lead poisoning and what we can do together as a community to fix this problem!

To read the full article, click here.

Rental companies sue over Detroit inspection ordinance

 

 

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Detroit property owners have gone too long without accountability for the living conditions and health of their tenants. This strong ordinance helps protect Detroit residents and their families. It’s time for the owners of rentals to step up and do their part!

 

Read the full article from the Detroit News to learn more about what’s going on.

Detroit kids’ lead poisoning rates higher than Flint

W Boston front

Lead in the news surprises no one after the tragedy we’ve witnessed in Flint. The Detroit News has highlighted the pervasiveness of lead in Detroit as well, where we are seeing lead poisoning rates among tested children that are more than four times higher than in Flint. The city has decided to take a primary prevention focus by passing an amendment to their Rental Property Maintenance Ordinance. The changes introduced create a path for landlords to get their rental properties up-to-code and lead-safe within a certain time frame. With most of the housing stock built before the 1978 laws banning the use of lead-based paint in homes, this issue touches nearly every homeowner and tenant in Detroit. The Detroit Health Department has observed an increase in lead poisoning rates for the first time in over a decade. Along with the health department, CLEARCorps Detroit and Wayne State University’s Center for Urban Studies have partnered to reach out to families to inform them about lead poisoning, provide options for grant opportunities to renovate and remove lead hazards from the home, and create a dialogue around healthy housing.

To learn more, read the full article from the Detroit News here.

Detroit City Council OKs stricter rental property ordinance

Wooden window with lead paint. This is a common sight at Detroit properties

Wooden window with lead paint. This is a common sight at Detroit properties

 

On October 31st, 2017, the Detroit City Council opted to pass an amendment to their Rental Property Maintenance Code. This new amendment creates a system for outreach and enforcement with  the goal of bringing rental properties in Detroit up to code withing two years.

This amended ordinance will be phased out in “compliance zones,” which are geographic areas where enforcement will begin, and then reach out through the rest of the city in staggered start dates. Once a “zone” is opened, landlords will have six months to get their properties up to code. New zones will be opened 90 days following the opening of the previous zone.

If a landlord does not bring their property up to code within the six month window, they will not legally be allowed to collect rent. For three months following the initial six month period, a tenant must put their rent into escrow. If the landlord brings the property up to code during those three months, the rent money is handed over. If the property is not brought up to code, then the tenant may recollect their rent money that was placed in escrow. This process then repeats if the home continues to remain without repair.

In addition, this amendment also provides for the city withholding a landlord’s certificate of compliance if more than $1,000 in property taxes has been unpaid for over six months, year lead inspection requirements, reduction in inspection frequency for landlords without blight violations and paid taxes, as well as an more rapid path for appealing the denial of a certificate of compliance.

This is a major step to bring Detroit’s housing stock into the 21st century. As we continue our fight to eliminate lead poisoning in the city, we would like to applaud the Detroit City Council for passing this amendment to protect the health of the children in our community.

For more information, click here.