SOUTH BEND — The city announced it will join a national initiative to improve its strategy for combating the area’s stubborn problem with lead-poisoned kids.
Suzanna Fritzberg, deputy chief of staff for Mayor Pete Buttigieg, announced that South Bend secured a $50,000 state grant to join a program led by the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative, a Baltimore-based nonprofit that helps communities across the country break the link between housing problems and unhealthy children.
Under the initiative, South Bend will work with the nonprofit’s staff to study the lead problem so that a stronger plan can be developed to combat it. By achieving objectives to make housing safer, the city could join roughly 20 communities across the country that are designated as Green and Healthy Homes Initiative sites.
The news was announced Thursday night at an annual meeting held by the Near Northwest Neighborhood Inc., which has led several efforts to help local families address the problem. Dozens of local residents applauded when the announcement was made by Fritzberg.
Later this year, she said, the city will start working with the nonprofit to conduct a “community needs and asset analysis” that will find more steps to address the problem with old, lead-tainted homes. For example, efforts could focus on finding ways to better inform local contractors about lead-safe practices for repairing homes.
The city will “refine our strategy so that we can ensure every child in South Bend grows up in safe, healthy housing,” Fritzberg said.