Urban Environmental Program in New England
Grants and Projects: Toxics
Childhood Lead Action Project
"Up to Code Providence"
Partners: RI Legal Services, RI Department of Health, Rhode Island Medical-Legal Partnership for Children, RI Chapter of the American Lung Association
Summary: Childhood Lead poisoning and asthma continue to be serious health threats to Providence's children. Five percent of children entering kindergarten in Providence this fall have been lead poisoned at some point in their lives. Nationally, asthma is the most common chronic condition in children, the third-ranked cause of hospitalization for kids under age 15 and one of the leading causes of school absences. There is a keen awareness in the environmental health community that lead poisoning and child asthma prevention advocates have similar concerns about the impact of dilapidated housing on children's health and there is a pressing need to address both these problems by improving housing code enforcement. The Childhood Lead Action Project (CLAP) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1992 to eliminate childhood lead poisoning in Rhode Island through education, parent support, and advocacy. This project seeks to expand CLAP's Get the Lead Out Coalition to expand their work on childhood lead poisoning to include childhood asthma in order to protect children from severe health outcomes resulting from mold, pests, lead hazards, or unsafe renovation practices. Project activities include expanding CLAP's Up to Code Committee – a project of the organization's Get the Lead Out Coalition – to include child asthma prevention advocates, providing training and support to new committee members on lead/asthma, minimum housing code and lead-safe work practices, meeting with the Providence Lead Compliance Initiative Working Group to provide technical assistance, feedback, and other help as necessary, providing education and services to tenants and community organizations to discuss current efforts, strategize better coordination, and raise awareness about asthma and lead hazard complaint opportunities.
Measurable Results: Number of asthma prevention advocates participating; Number of meetings; Number of residents, community organization staff, and city officials educated; Decrease in childhood lead poisoning and asthma incidences; Reduction in lead hazards and asthma triggers.
Childhood Lead Action Project
“Up to Code Campaign”
Childhood lead poisoning continues to be the number one environmental health threat to Providence’s children. Of all the urban communities in Rhode Island, Providence has the most widespread lead poisoning problem. The City recognizes the severity of the issue and has taken its role in remediating lead hazards seriously, investing millions of dollars in lead hazard awareness and abatement efforts that have contributed to a decline in lead poisoning rates. One of the struggles the city has faced over the years has been gaining compliance from rental property owners whose units have been cited for lead and minimum code violations. Formed in 1992, The Childhood Lead Action Project works to eliminate childhood lead poisoning in Rhode Island through education, parent support, and advocacy. This projects seeks to bring more Providence properties into compliance with housing code, reducing the rate of childhood lead poisoning in Providence, engaging residents in local efforts to improve housing conditions, and significantly decrease the use of unsafe, illegal home renovation practices that are poisoning children and putting both workers and residents at risk. Project activities include raising awareness and concern among City staff about the health dangers posed by deteriorating properties and unsafe renovation practices, training staff on underutilized laws as creative enforcement mechanisms, creating a system for educating violators about training and financial assistance for compliance, training Department of Inspection and Standards staff on the essential aspects of the Lead Renovation, Repair, and Paining Rule and its implementation, providing outreach and education materials to contractors applying for building permits and providing information about legal responsibilities and lead-safe work practices to property owners.
Measurable Results: Number of trainings held; Number of people trained on the new EPA RRFP Rule; Number of systems and procedures created; Number of residents engaged; Increase in the number of certificates of conformance and lead-safe certificates issued to Providence properties; Reduction in lead poisoning incidence in 2011.
Partners: Rhode Island Legal Services, Rhode Island Department of Health, Providence Department of Inspection & Standards, Roger Williams University Feinstein Institute for Legal Service
Childhood Lead Action Program (CLAP)
"Immigrant and Refugee Lead Poisoning Prevention Project"
Partners: International Institute of RI, RI Department of Health, The Genesis Center, Hasbro Children's Hospital
Summary: Recently, there has been a significant increase in the number of immigrants and refugees resettling in Providence from the countries of Burundi, Eritrea, Iraq, Iran, Liberia, and Bhutan. Refugee children, in particular, are typically malnourished and anemic, placing them at high-risk for lead poisoning in the States. In addition, immigrant and refugee families are commonly living in substandard, lead-contaminated housing because they have very few resources and options. Founded in 1992, the Childhood Lead Action Project works to eliminate childhood lead poisoning through education, parent support, and advocacy. CLAP is recognized statewide as a leading resource for families and agencies seeking information on lead-related topics. This project seeks to build upon the previous successes of this effort by developing awareness and action among the immigrant and refugee population on the dangers of lead in housing and methods for preventing exposure of this toxin while also protecting the environmental safety of immigrant and refugee children by further uniting stakeholders to develop and implement policies that place families in lead-safe housing. Project activities include providing ESL providers training on lead prevention lessons so they can be used in their curricula, training community members to be outreach works who will assist with organizing and presenting at house parties, providing lead prevention presentations to the targeted ethnic groups, and developing housing resettlement policies in procedures.
Measurable Results: Number of residents recruited and educated; Number of house parties held; Number of meetings with social service providers held; Number of social service providers educated on lead prevention and available resources; Creation of a housing placement plan that ensures the lead safety of resettled families
Southside Community Land Trust
Youth Urban Gardening Education Initiative
Founded in 1981, The Southside Community Land Trust provides access to land, education, and other resources so people in Greater Providence can grow food using environmentally sustainable practices, and to create community food systems where locally produced, affordable, and healthy food is available to all. The “Youth Urban Gardening Education Initiative” project builds on successful 5-year partnerships between SCLT and 2 local elementary out-of-school time programs, adds the involvement of local high school for both out-of-school programming and water-use education, and capitalizes on the skills and interests of an Education Director particularly interested in helping extend learning and sharing within the Providence school system. The Youth Garden Club participants engage in structured, hands-on learning activities related to the design, construction, and care of on-site raised bed gardens. Specifically, this project seeks to create, implement, and disseminate hands-on educational curricula designed for use by other schools interested in Youth Garden Clubs, including developing age-appropriate tools for high school students, and a set of materials useable by schools already taking part in field trips at their working farm; Install, as another means of promoting understanding of water issues and demonstrate the feasibility of low-cost water systems, rain barrels at all three community garden sites. The project expects to increase public participation in understanding and addressing prevention of risks associated with pesticides, lead-contaminated souls, and water conservation; and the importance and practicalities of transforming unused urban land, including schoolyards into safe, productive food gardens.
Measurable Results: Creation, implementation and evaluation of a hands-on food growing curricula; Creation, implementation and evaluation of 4 age-appropriate lesson plans for field trips; Establishment of regular programs to involve more parents and neighborhood residents; Assist area high school in establishing its own urban food growing program
Partners: YMCA of Greater Providence, Feinstein High School
Childhood Lead Action Project
Immigrant and Refugee Lead Prevention Project
The Childhood Lead Action Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating childhood lead poisoning in Rhode Island through education, parent support and advocacy. The “Immigrant and Refugee Lead Prevention Project” will focus on reducing the exposure of Providence, RI’s immigrant and refugee children to lead hazards in housing and to increase parent awareness of childhood lead poisoning risks and prevention methods. This project brings the environmental health and safety of these populations to the forefront. The Project has already laid the groundwork for this program when they received funding two years ago to pilot a small-scale prevention project targeting newcomers from Haiti, Liberia, Nigeria, Sudan and Somalia. Over the course of that project, they developed productive partnerships with agencies serving these populations and expanded their knowledge of the unique needs of these diverse cultures. The “Immigrant and Refugee Lead Prevention Project” uses two effective strategies. The first is an outreach and education effort that will raise lead poisoning awareness and concern among immigrants and refugees and the providers servicing them through one-on-one meetings with staff and effective prevention materials at presentations and house parties catered to each audience and translated when necessary. The second strategy involves capacity-building and policy development. The Childhood Lead Action Project will provide leadership to a workgroup of stakeholders to assess the current state of rental housing used for resettlement and identify and implement mechanisms for ensuring families are only placed in lead safe properties. Expected long-term outcomes include a reduction in the incidence of childhood lead poisoning in Providence; greater access to culturally and linguistically diverse lead prevention materials; a more knowledgeable and active community on the lead prevention issue, and fewer families placed in substandard, lead-contaminated housing following their resettlement in Providence.
Measurable Results: Number of presentations in community settings, including churches, ESL classes, social and cultural organizations targeting families undergoing resettlement; Number of meetings with social service providers held; Number of social service providers educated on lead prevention and available resources; Number of residents recruited and educated; Creation of a housing placement plan that ensures the lead safety of resettled families, Number of adapted education materials for the populations targeted in this project
Partners: International Institute of RI, RI Department of Health
Childhood Lead Action Project (Providence)
"Lead Paint Citizen Engagement Initiative"
The Childhood Lead Action Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating childhood lead poisoning in Rhode Island through education, parent support and advocacy. The "Lead Paint Citizen Engagement Initiative" will focus education, outreach, remediation resources and other tools to block groups in Providence, Central Falls and Woonsocket that have the highest incidence of childhood lead poisoning. The Childhood Lead Action Project will work to recruit and sustain strong community involvement on three subcommittees of the Lead Paint Advisory Group to engage, inform and involve local residents in decision-making. Key elements of the project include developing and implementing a recruitment plan to bring members of the targeted communities to actively participate in subcommittee work and volunteer outreach; provide technical assistance and support to community volunteers; and engage residents to solicit feedback on the remediation, outreach, education and enforcement activities in target communities. The project expects to improve the health of young children living in high-risk Providence, Woonsocket and Pawtucket neighborhoods by decreasing their exposures to lead toxins that impede their ability to learn, grown and thrive.
Measurable Results: Expected results from the project include: reducing the incidence of childhood lead poisoning in targeted areas by 50%; reduction of lead hazards in 400 homes over two years; 25 community meetings held in the targeted block groups in Providence, Pawtucket and Woonsocket; 15 community residents engaged in the decision-making process through the lead paint advisory committee and its three subcommittees; 700 individuals engaged for involvement; and development of a comprehensive recruitment plan.
Partners: Neighbor Works Blackstone River Valley, Pawtucket Citizens Development Corporation.
Childhood Lead Action Project (Providence, RI)
Tenant Empowerment Project
The Childhood Lead Action Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating childhood lead poisoning in Rhode Island through education, parent support and advocacy. The “Tenant Empowerment Project” will develop a grassroots outreach and education initiative to inform low-income tenants in Providence and Woonsocket, RI about their rights under Rhode Island’s recently enacted Lead Hazard Mitigation Act (LHMA). The will engage tenants directly through churches, daycare centers, and English as a Second Language programs, job training programs, and health centers and provide education about existing risks from lead and opportunities to reduce the risk of childhood lead poisoning by improving housing conditions without fear of eviction.
Measurable Results: Curriculum, tenant fact sheet, and slideshow developed in Spanish and English on lead poisoning and LHMA; 20 community meetings in Spanish and English will educate 500 low-income tenants about new rights under LHMA and risks of lead exposure; over 1,000 bilingual tenant fact sheets and information packets distributed to participants.
Partners: Rhode Island Housing Resources Commission, Rhode Island Legal Services, Connecting for Children and Families