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Update from Leslie and Family In Iowa, 12/31

New Year’s Eve

About $4,500 has been donated in support of Leslie and her family so far. For an update of the exact amount, click here.

We’ve been trying to get her in alternate housing ASAP—while trying to find a suitable housing match, and also avoid subjecting the family to multiple moves over the next month or two. We haven’t found a solution for them yet, although we are now working on at least one “Plan B” – and will perhaps move them into a “Hotel & Suites” situation as soon as tomorrow (January 1st.)

Shortly after we posted a call for support for Leslie and her family, the lead-grant program administrators with the City of Cedar Rapids told her that, in fact, she “may qualify” for the comprehensive grant to get a lot of the required work done at her home. The grant application process, however, (from submission to review to approval) will still take additional time—leaving her family in a home that is potentially continuing to expose the children to lead (hopefully a little less so, now that we have more clearly identified and removed several of those sources [dishes/ tub / carpet / sofa/  etc.])

Leslie’s experience in Cedar Rapids sounds disturbingly similar to my own first-hand experience— once a potential landlord finds out your kids have lead-poisoning (and that you have more than two children!), there seems to be a trend towards “we forgot about your interest” or “didn’t realize you were still interested” or “we misplaced your application”, or “we’ve already rented to someone else” or “the unit you wanted is no longer available; we only have units available that are not appropriate for you and your family”, etc. After a string of these “random, unfortunate mishaps” and “odd misunderstandings”, a discernible pattern seems to emerge.

Tamara Rubin
Executive Director
Lead Safe America

An update directly from Leslie (our mama in Iowa, working to keep her kiddos safe from lead):

“My husband and I  turned in the application for a fully furnished apartment about a week ago, and waited to hear back from the apartment management.

When I didn’t hear back for almost a week, I called in (earlier today, New Year’s Eve) and found out that the apartment we said would work well had been rented out to someone else already because they “could not accept our application since Lead Safe America Foundation would be the responsible party.” [This is after Tamara had called in (again, more than a week ago) and confirmed with them that it would be possible for LSAF to rent the unit on our behalf.]

Instead of contacting us and letting us know that “an LSAF representative would be required to fill out the application” instead of us, they quietly let our application sit on their desk and rented the one apartment that would fit our family well to someone else, so our plan to move out and keep the kids safe even before the city grant comes into effect has—for the present—been thwarted.

We are working hard to pack up, purge, and get ready for when we do have to move out, but at this point, we are not even sure if we really qualify for the “Comprehensive” city grant, let alone the “Lead Hazard” one— (the two grants are very different – with the “Comprehensive” grant being 25k and “Lead” grant being $15K for total costs to cover work and materials.)

In the meantime, everything is still up in the air, and our kids are still living every day in our home with lead hazards.

-Leslie Kung
Cedar Rapids, Iowa

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