Loyola University Chicago

Healthy Homes & Healthy Communities


Programs and strategic plans

CLEAR-Win Initiative

Deteriorating lead paint on windows is the greatest source of lead poisoning for children. The Comprehensive Lead Reduction and Window Replacement Program Act (CLEAR-Win), passed in 2007 and funded in 2009 through the Build Illinois Bond Fund, is a prevention-focused program that aims to replace windows in low-income properties in Illinois. Windows are the greatest source of lead paint poisoning for children. The program will provide grants and loans in the Peoria community and the Englewood and West Englewood communities in Chicago. In addition, the program seeks to support community economic development by using windows manufactured and assembled in Illinois and by training local individuals to do the work. For more information, contact Lead Safe Illinois.

Chicago Municipal Code

A unique provision in the City of Chicago Municipal Code defines lead poisoning as a blood lead level of 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL) or higher, instead of 10 µg/dL. This helps to identify children before a greater amount of lead builds up in the child's body and prevents further damage in the child's developing brain. In Chicago, a test result of 5 µg/dL or higher could trigger a home lead inspection by the Chicago Department of Public Health. All children in Chicago are required by law to be tested for lead poisoning by their health provider. Learn more about blood lead levels and testing requirements.

Lead abatement financial assistance programs

The Chicago Department of Public Health has limited grant funding to assist low-income homeowners and landlords of affordable housing with eliminating lead hazards in their buildings. These programs offer between 50% and 100% of the funding needed to make the property lead-safe. Assistance is offered as grants, loans, or forgivable loans. Eligibility varies based on the program, and can only be determined upon application. In general all properties must:

  • have been built before 1978
  • be adequately insured
  • be current on taxes
  • be in reasonably good repair beyond the lead problems
  • have a clean title (the property can not be in foreclosure and special rules may apply to trusts or recently purchased properties)
  • have identified lead hazards (If property was not already inspected, CDPH inspectors will identify hazards before any work starts - you do not need to have hazards identified before applying)
  • have all units in the building participate in the program—CDPH will not repair a single unit in a multi-unit building

Single Family Homes/Properties with less than four units can qualify for up to 100% of the abatement costs, depending on the owner's income level and the number of units, if:

  • a child six or younger lives or regularly visits at the property
  • the property owner makes less than 120% of the Area Median Income (up to $97,500 for a family of four in 2007)

Download an application for the City of Chicago Homeowner Lead Abatement Financial Assistance Application for homes with less than 4 units.

Multi-family homes with four or more units can qualify for up to 75% of the abatement costs if:

  • the majority of the rental units are affordable (less than 30% of the 50% Area Median Income, approximately $940 per month in 2007)
  • the owner and building meet financing criteria for the 25% match

For properties with four or more units, please contact CDPH at (312) 746-6520 for more information.

Raising awareness through hardware stores

Coordinated by the University of Illinois Chicago School of Public Health Great Lakes Center for Occupational and Environmental Science, and Loyola University Chicago's Civitas ChildLaw Center's Policy Institute, students in public health and law, and community members visit local hardware stores that sell paint or paint supplies to ensure they are posting information about Lead-Safe Work Practices, as required by law.

Community strategic plans

Lead Safe Community Strategic Plans are community-based initiatives to reduce and prevent childhood lead poisoning.

Lead Safe Chicago

Lead Safe Chicago is working to eliminate childhood lead poisoning in Chicago by 2010 and to increase the number of affordable, lead-safe housing units. It's a coalition of community, housing and children's health advocates; city, county, state and federal government officials; realtors and property owners; parents of lead poisoned children, and representatives of the insurance and financial industries. Lead Safe Chicago is working to:

  • Maximize the number of affordable, lead safe housing units especially in:
    • Low-income, owner-occupied properties of more than five units
    • Smaller, multi-family rental units of more than five units with low-income tenants
    • Larger, multi-family units serving low-income tenants
    • All other units in Chicago
  • Motivate property owners to take the initiative in making their properties lead safe.
  • Increase identification of young children who are at risk for lead poisoning.
  • Raise awareness among legislators, decision makers, and media about lead poisoning and how to prevent it.
  • To learn more about lead poisoning in Chicago, visit the Chicago Department of Public Health.

Download the Lead Safe Chicago brochure.