Governor Appoints Healthy Homes Coalition Executive Director to Child Lead Poisoning Elimination Board

GRAND RAPIDS – Governor Snyder appointed Paul Haan, Executive Director of the Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan, and Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss to the newly formed Child Lead Poisoning Elimination Board created by Executive Order on June 10.

“It is an honor to be asked to serve in this important role,” said Haan. “We have a 15 year history of effectively fighting childhood lead poisoning in west Michigan, and I look forward to leveraging that knowledge in service to all the children of Michigan. Our goal will be to help focus this work on solving the root environmental causes of lead poisoning, including lead-based paint, lead-laden soil, and tainted water. It’s not enough to just test and treat kids. We have to get at the source.”


Healthy Homes and KCHD Seek Answers to 30% Increase in Lead Poisoned Kids in GR in 2015

On March 14, 2016, the Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan and the Kent County Health Department (KCHD) spoke with representatives from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to begin exploring why there was a 30% increase in the number of children with elevated blood lead test results in Kent County in 2015. In 2014 there were 470 children with blood lead levels ≥5.0 ug/dL* in Kent County. In 2015, that number rose dramatically to 610 children. The initial request on that day was to review historical data to identify potential abnormalities related to WIC testing sites in the City of Grand Rapids, geography (zip codes), and time of year (quarter).


Lead Poisoning Town Hall Follow-Up

Neighbor Maleka shares her story of lead poisoning in Grand Rapids.
 

The Healthy Homes Coalition, Mount Moriah Baptist Church, the Grand Rapids NAACPthe Grand Rapids Urban League, and LINC thank you for coming to the March 10 Town Hall Meeting on Childhood Lead Poisoning in Grand Rapids.​


5,000 Children Lead Poisoned Across Michigan.

 

Lead in the water in Flint has awoken the sleeping giant of childhood lead poisoning. Prior to Flint, the people of Michigan grew comfortable with slowly decreasing rates of childhood lead poisoning.

Did you know that each year more than 5,000 children are lead poisoned across the state of Michigan, the vast majority by hazardous lead paint in their homes.


Lessons from the Flint Water Crises

By now, most people in Michigan are well aware of the crisis in Flint with lead in the water. The problem began almost two years ago when Flint’s municipal water supply stopped contracting with the City of Detroit to provide water and started using local water sources. It wasn't until five months ago that a Virginia Tech study said the water was not only dirty and unpalatable, but also resulted in an increase in lead poisoning among the city's children. With that news, the story exploded onto the national scene, catching the attention of celebrities like Erin Brockovich, Rachel Maddow, Michael Moore, and Cher. The stories mounted daily on local news sources like MLive.

So what does this mean for Grand Rapids and the rest of the State?

 


Housing for Families with Children

Earlier this month, Healthy Homes Coalition Executive Director Paul Haan delivered the following comments to the Grand Rapids City Commission in regards to the draft Great Housing Strategies plan being considered for adoption by the City.

The chief concern shared by the Healthy Homes Coalition is that this plan work equally hard to create opportunities for families with children. Providing affordable, safe, and healthy housing for families pays a multitude of dividends and keeps our communities and our children strong.


Lead Costs the People of Michigan $300 Million Every Year

A new report released by the University of Michigan Risk Science Center estimates that childhood lead exposure costs Michigan residents $330 million annually, and a statewide remediation program would pay for itself in three years. 

Healthy Homes Goes to Lansing

In recent weeks, staff from the Healthy Homes made a pair of quick visits to Lansing to provide testimony to both the House and Senate Department of Community Health Appropriations subcommittees.  The purpose of the testimony was to thank legislators for making a first-time ever allocation of $1.25 million in general revenue funding for lead hazard control.


Three Pathways

In January 2014, the Healthy Homes Coalition began holding a series of one-on-one conversations with community leaders. We expected to get the word out about our mission. What we didn't expect was to be blessed with insightful guidance on how that mission can be advanced so that all children grow up in healthy housing.


Make Healthier Homes a Priority in Kent County

What do you see as health concerns for your community? Throughout the coming months, you have the chance to fight for healthy homes by shaping future priorities for the Kent County Health Department (KCHD) and the area's five non-profit hospitals. Join us in advocating for healthier housing for kids.


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