In late August and early September, HousingForward Virginia worked with the Virginia Poverty Law Center (VPLC) and Richmond City Health District to produce a series of webinars called #Lead2020: Lead-Safe Homes, Healthy Families. The goal of these events was to raise awareness about the dangers of lead contamination in homes across the Commonwealth.
Stakeholders and practitioners from the worlds of housing, public health, and activism came together hoping to build a coalition that can work together to fully abate lead hazards in Virginia’s homes and water systems.
The first webinar, entitled “Plumbum Persists: Housing and Public Health,” served as an introductory lesson about the intersection of housing and health, as well as the effects of long-term lead exposure on children and adults. Speakers included Dr. Danny Avula of the Va. Department of Health’s (VDH) Richmond and Henrico Health Districts, Dr. Jennifer Ross of UVA’s Blue Ridge Poison Center, Hope Cupit of the Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project (SERCAP), and Queen Zakia Shabazz of United Parents Against Lead.
The next webinar focused on the pervasiveness of lead in Virginia’s aging housing stock and the comprehensive process of lead abatement, titled “Paint, Pipes, and Poison: Pervasiveness and Proper Process.” Speakers included Scott Slagley of Richmond City Health District, Trisha Henshaw at the Va. Department of Professional and Occupation Regulation, Dwayne Roadcap of VDH’s Office of Drinking Water, Katie Kennedy of the City of Roanoke’s Lead Safe Roanoke program, and Zack Miller of project:HOMES.
Then came the third webinar, “Legally Speaking: Understanding the Lead Legal Landscape.” This session shed light on the current laws and regulations that protect families from lead hazards in Virginia. Speakers included Andrew Tran of VDH’s Lead Safe program, Daryl Hayott of VPLC, Michelle Coward of the City of Richmond’s Property Maintenance Division, and Jeff Brown of DHCD’s State Building Code Office.
Finally, the series wrapped up with “Lead-Free Future: A Call to Action.” This session centered best practices in lead hazard control from across the nation and sketched out what needs to happen here in Virginia to support the full abatement of lead from our homes. Speakers included Jonathan Wilson of the National Center for Healthy Housing, Corey Rhyan of Altarum Institute’s Center for Value in Health Care, and Daryl Hayott of VPLC.
Recordings of all four webinars, slides and additional materials are available on our website under the Housing & Health initiative.