Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition

Preventing lead poisoning through education, screening, and intervention

The Need

Even the smallest amount of lead poisoning can cause permanent, irreversible damage on children’s brains, organs, as well as their mental and physical health. A 20-year Case Western University study of 10,000 Cleveland Municipal School District students showed that children whose blood lead levels were above 5 micrograms per deciliter, the federal threshold for concern, were:

Children in Cuyahoga County account for 41% of the children in Ohio with elevated blood lead levels. Lead poisoning disproportionately affects low-income children and families of color. Higher lead poisoning rates fall within the boundaries of Cleveland’s historically redlined neighborhoods.

The Help

United Way of Greater Cleveland became a partner in the fight against childhood lead exposure in 2019 as part of the Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition. In July 2019, Cleveland City Council passed historic legislation requiring owners of residential rental units built before 1978 to obtain lead-safe certifications for their properties. The certification process started in March 2021, and all landlords will be required to have inspections and lead-safe certifications by 2023.

United Way hosted several virtual workshops throughout 2020 for landlords educate them on lead’s dangers to their tenants. United Way also invested $150,000 with Enterprise Community Partners, the backbone operator of the Coalition.

The Coalition’s Lead Safe Home Fund provides families and property owners with the resources they need to make homes lead safe. 

In September 2021, the fund received a $2.5 million gift to help support a collaboration with United Way to remove harmful sources of lead from local homes. As of September 2021, the Lead Safe Home Fund had raised nearly half of the $99.5 million needed to make Cleveland lead free in five years.

Learn More

The Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition has information and resources for residents and families, landlords and property owners, and lead-safe workers.

United Way 211 connects callers to nonprofit agencies that provide emergency housing and other housing-related needs. Dial 211 or visit 211oh.org to connect with a navigator who can help.

Housing Stability

United Way of Greater Cleveland is funding four Community Hub grants that are tackling issues related to housing stability. Learn more about the nonprofits and their programs:

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