Loyola University Chicago

Healthy Homes & Healthy Communities

Illinois Lead Safe Housing Task Force

The Illinois Lead Safe Housing Task Force was formed in 1997 to develop and implement workable strategies to eliminate childhood lead poisoning. The Task Force is an alliance of individuals and public, private, and not-for-profit groups committed to ending childhood lead poisoning. The Task Force includes representatives of community based organizations, property management and realtor associations, the insurance industry, and children's health and welfare advocacy groups; officials from State and local public health and housing agencies; and parents of children who have been lead poisoned, tenant advocates, physicians, and attorneys. The Task Force advocates for policy reform, promotes public awareness, and fosters collaborations to achieve its mission. The Task Force is chaired and staffed by the Loyola University Civitas ChildLaw Center's Policy Institute, a part of Loyola University's School of Law. Grants from The Chicago Community Trust, the US EPA and the Chicago Department of Public Health fund some of the Task Force Efforts.

Passage of legislation

  • The Comprehensive Lead Education, Reduction, and Window Replacement Program Act (CLEAR-Win) signed into law in August 2007, and funded in 2009, is a prevention-focused program that aims to replace windows in low-income properties to reduce lead hazards and provide training for community members on doing this work.
  • The Illinois Lead Poisoning Prevention Act of 2006 is the first statewide effort to begin work toward prevention of lead poisoning, rather than responding after a child is poisoned. This is critical since the damage caused by lead is irreversible.
  • The Lead Safe Housing Advisory Council Act established a statewide Advisory Council charged with making recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly regarding the establishment of a primary prevention program. The Task Force co-chairs the Advisory Council with the Illinois Department of Public Health.
  • The Torrens law was amended in 2005 and reallocated funds from a dismantled indemnity fund that are now used for grants to pay for abatement and mitigation of housing in Cook County.

Sponsorship of citywide and community summits to end childhood lead poisoning

The 2009 Community Summit on Lead Poisoning Prevention and Healthy Homes led to strategic action steps for five communities. A 2003 citywide invitational summit brought together a broad spectrum of public and private, and non-profit organizations and agencies to define the major objectives and components of a strategic plan. The Lead Safe Chicago Plan Aimed at Eliminating Childhood Lead Poisoning‌ by the year 2010, is underway. A 2001 Community Summit brought together public and private partners to address lead poisoning in Austin, North Lawndale and Rogers Park.

Development of Resources

Production of public awareness materials

  • 13-week cable television series on lead paint poisoning
  • Public Service Announcement for cable access television

Launch of Lead Safe Illinois

The statewide campaign, accompanied by local campaigns, provides an umbrella for the efforts to eliminate childhood lead poisoning within the decade.