In recent weeks, staff from the Healthy Homes made a pair of quick visits to Lansing to provide testimony to both the House and Senate Department of Community Health Appropriations subcommittees. The purpose of the testimony was to thank legislators for making a first-time ever allocation of general revenue for lead hazard control in children’s housing in 2013, and to encourage continued support in 2014.
As part of an effort coordinated by the Michigan Alliance for Lead Safe Housing, Executive Director Paul Haan attended the Senate hearing, and Program Manager Courtney Myers-Keaton provided testimony and thanked the House Committee for the $1.25 million allocation.
In a poignant example of lead’s continued threat to children, Rep. John Olumba (I-Detroit) surprised everyone at Monday’s appropriations hearing by sharing that, because of his work on this issue, he and his wife recently asked to have two of their children tested for lead and were shocked to learn that both girls tested positive for lead exposure.
A significant amount of new money is being invested in expanding preschool in Michigan, something Rep. Olumba says he strongly supports. But to what end, he asked, if young children are living in unhealthy homes?
Rep. Olumba’s sentiments echo the thoughts shared by west Michigan legislators who participated in the Fight for Healthy Homes campaign earlier this year. Yes, we should invest in expanding preschool. And we should maximize those efforts by making related investments that ensure children’s homes are not hindering their success.