DESCRIPTION OF THE STRATEGY
By conducting and publicizing a local or regional assessment of the status of lead poisoning prevention and screening efforts, policies, and barriers, advocates can develop a community-wide agenda with concrete action steps to address identified needs. Such assessments and subsequent action plans can best be written by a “task force” that represents the major stakeholders who will need to be engaged to carry out the plan—including: health and housing agencies, code agencies, community and health advocates, property owners, and others.
The assessment can pull together and communicate a clear picture of the scope of the problem and the reasons that underlie the status quo. It can identify opportunities and barriers to instituting primary prevention and vet models from other jurisdictions that should be considered. Involving multiple stakeholders in the assessment process fosters a common understanding of the problem and a shared basis for considering possible solutions. Stakeholders who have committed to investigating the problem become invested in implementing solutions. Ideally, the assessment will clarify specific roles of stakeholders and hold them accountable for implementing aspects of the resulting strategy.
The assessment process can build public and political support for a clearly described approach and expand resources for preventing and controlling lead hazards in housing as well as other sources.
This process can build working relationships and cooperation among different stakeholders that can be tapped for tackling other community problems.
Scope of Potential Impact
Regional (e.g. multi-county)
City - or - County - Wide
|Code or Building Inspection Agency|
Human Services Agency
Child Welfare Agency
The coalition or agency coordinating the assessment needs to include people with experience in a broad array of disciplines, including affordable housing, landlord-tenant issues, the construction trades, real estate finance, code enforcement, and leaders of affected communities. The assessment can help broaden support by involving all pertinent government agencies (health, housing, code enforcement, and social services), elected officials, and key private sector individuals who need to be part of the solution (e.g. landlords, contractors, health care providers). All participants do the key work on a shared, in-kind basis, although staffing a successful process could take as much as one FTE during periods of intense activity.
Other resource requirements:
To create a common basis for decision-making, the assessment should compile and analyze data that clarifies the problem, including lead poisoning rates and exposure patterns as well as key housing variables—e.g. housing age, type of construction, occupancy, and rental ownership patterns. The assessment should also analyze relevant laws, regulations, codes, ordinances, and other important factors in the legal and policy landscape. This analysis should go beyond lead-specific laws, such as lead-safe housing standards, blood lead screening requirements, and contractor certification systems, to consider all relevant sections of housing, sanitary, and building codes and landlord-tenant laws, the extent of lead poisoning tort litigation, and agencies’ regulatory powers.
Top management support to convene and carry out assessment process.
Cost of staff for administrative support and legal research.
The assessment should map out the windows of opportunities for implementing recommendations, and how and when stakeholders need to weigh in to influence policymaking. For example, the results of a purposeful assessment will inform and determine public agency strategy planning, regulatory decisions, passing new legislation, and annual budget decisions.
The budget shortfalls in many jurisdictions can discourage participants who fear there will be no resources to devote to the recommendations that could emerge. The assessment can address this by looking for innovative financing mechanisms.