CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland community officials envision an ambitious plan to eliminate lead hazards from over 10,000 homes in the next decade — breaking with a previous plan of cleaning a few hundred homes at a time.
The new plan for removing lead hazards from homes in Cleveland and East Cleveland would require $159 million in upfront investment to be viable, The Plain Dealer has reported. According to Boston-based nonprofit Third Sector Capital Partners, the return on that investment would be about $200 million.
Third Sector Capital was hired by the Cuyahoga County Board of Health in to explore a social impact bond model plan aimed at drastically reducing lead poisoning threats. The board received a $100,000 grant from the Cleveland Foundation to explore the model.
"There's no question that we want to think big," Cuyahoga County Health Commissioner Terry Allan said this month after a private meeting to discuss the plan.
The plan calls for investors to be repaid incrementally over the next 10 years based on savings from reduced costs in other civic areas.
A Cleveland city spokeswoman says the new model has the potential to bring significant resources to increase Cleveland's inventory of lead-free homes.
More than 500,000 older homes in Cuyahoga County are potential lead hazards, and rental homes in neighborhoods with deteriorating houses are a particular risk for young children.
Cleveland and Cuyahoga County have relied mainly on grants from the federal government to remediate lead hazards. On average, only about 250 homes a year are remediated under the current model each year.