CLEVELAND — Cleveland city leaders announced Thursday plans to spend a combined $67 million to abate lead paint throughout the city. 

What You Need To Know

  • The Cleveland Clinic and city of Cleveland are planning on spending a combined $67 million to combat lead paint

  • The Cleveland Clinic said that 90% of homes in the city were constructed before 1978, when lead-based paint was made illegal

  • The Cleveland Clinic will provide $50 million and the city will add the additional $17 million through federal funds

  • The goal is to eliminate lead paint in all households in Cleveland by March 2023

The bulk of the money will come from a $50 million Cleveland Clinic grant. The other $17 million would come from American Rescue Plan Act funds the city is receiving from the federal government. The city’s portion would require approval from the city council. 

The city passed an ordinance in 2019 requiring all homes constructed before 1978 be proactively certified as lead safe by no later than March 1, 2023.

"There will be at least 25,000 homes or units that will be remediated, made lead safe by this just remarkable contribution that the city of Cleveland has made through ARPA funds and the Cleveland Clinic has made," said Ayonna Blue Donald from the Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition.

The city’s Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition previously raised more than $47 million to address lead paint in homes. Officials said in a joint statement the additional funds would allow the coalition to “more deeply assist homeowners, assist families facing displacement due to lead poisoning, create a national model for lead safe child care, improve lead screening and testing rates, train additional lead safe workers, and address other health concerns in Cleveland’s housing stock.”

“By protecting the health and future of our kids, we are protecting the health and future of Cleveland,” Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb said. “This is one example of what we can accomplish through the power of collaboration and this investment is one step closer in helping Cleveland become a safer, healthier, and more equitable city.”

According to the Cleveland Clinic, nearly 90% of Cleveland homes were built before 1978, the year that residential lead paint was outlawed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that lead poisoning can cause neurological damage. A 2020 Cuyahoga County report found that 9.4% of Cleveland children younger than age 6 had elevated levels of lead. That’s compared to just 1.1% of children living in Cuyahoga County’s outer ring suburbs.

"For generations, lead exposure has poisoned children in the city of Cleveland and unfortunately at times and at a rate that's four times [the] national average," said Dr. Tom Mihaljevic, Cleveland Clinic CEO. "This is clearly unacceptable because we know that our children deserve better. So today Cleveland Clinic is pledging $50 million to the Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition."