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The City of Flint’s Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control (LBPHC) program partnered with community-based organization “Whew, Mama!” to conduct door-to-door outreach to residents on the importance of lead service line replacement. This partnership is designed to help the City of Flint address the declinations for their Get the Lead Out program

get the lead out

Residents must opt-in to get their lead pipes replaced for free, but City of Flint had over 1,000 addresses that did not opt-in for excavation at the beginning of 2023. Why? Many Flint residents have a deep distrust of local government, and are unsure if promises made will be kept. Some residents are also unaware of the deeply harmful consequences of lead exposure.

The Office of Public Health and HUD’s LBPHC program attempted to contact those 1,000 addresses via phone, door-to-door, and email. The City of Flint initial opt-in deadline on August 1, however, is quickly approaching. The $15,000 grant from HBBF supports a targeted outreach campaign to help build trust and encourage residents to grant permission for free LSLR. The City is also working to extend the opt-in deadline.

Information about the program was featured in the Flint Beat, a local news outlet, in early spring. Still, it is challenging to bridge the gap between government intentions and resident trust. 

One of the first challenges was the time-consuming parsing of the list of 1,000 homes that had not opted in to distinguish residences built before 1978 from those that had been demolished or abandoned. Then, we hosted a series of meetings to foster collaboration and not repeat what others are already doing in the community.

At this point, 14% of residents we reached accepted a referral to have their lead service lines replaced for free. Twenty-eight percent of those reached did not agree to opt-in for free LSLR. 

The team is continuing the outreach and education campaign by going door to door, following up with the residents who said they will opt-in, hosting a community event, and advertising incentives for opt-in, like $50 Visa cards for the first 10 residents that opt-in.  

As someone who lives in Flint and was also affected by the Flint Water Crisis, it means a lot to be able to show others in our community that they are not alone,” said “Whew, Mama!” CEO Danicka Sims. “It is a mission of mine to advocate and ensure that every single resident on that list has lead free water and to let them know their city is here to support them.”


Would your city like to learn more about Flint’s program? Contact Mikesha Loring, Flint’s Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control Program Manager at mloring@cityofflint.com.

Is your city interested in being part of Healthy Babies Bright Futures’ Bright Cities program? To discuss this and anything else, please contact Bright Cities Program Director, Kyra Naumoff Shields at knaumoff@hbbf.org.


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