SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — Onondaga County will host its final town hall meeting to address the area’s lead crisis Tuesday.
Rather than the usual approach of targeting landlords to solve the issue of lead contamination, the county is now focusing on how everyone can get involved.
This effort begins with the final town hall event Tuesday evening, titled “Building A Lead-Safe Community.”
“We’ll be talking about lots of practical information that every family, every individual should know to stay safe in older housing in our community,” said Debra Lewis, the county Health Department’s lead poisoning program coordinator.
About 90% of Syracuse homes were built before 1978, prior to the banning of lead paint. This means most of these homes are likely to have traces of lead paint in the walls.
Syracuse resident Elliott Lewis fell victim to this figure earlier this year, when the luxury apartments he was living in discovered high levels of lead.
“Because I have a little dog, ten pound Havanese, who licks everything, I decided it was best to just move out,” he said.
He believes the county’s efforts to inform members of the community are positive steps in navigating this issue.
“If the idea is to raise more awareness among renters, I think that’s a good thing,” he said. “But obviously there still needs to be responsibility placed on the homeowner and on the landlord.”
As indicated by the Health Department’s recent partnership with the District Attorney’s Office, the county maintains that much of this issue’s burden falls on landlords.
“Property owners who disregard repeated attempts by the Health Department to have them correct identified lead hazards in their home may face criminal charges,” said Debra Lewis.
The final town meeting takes place at 6 p.m. at the John Mulroy Civic Center.