To the Editor:
Dear Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon,
Our community is in need of funds for housing, for mental and physical healthcare, childcare and social services, and to adequately address the lead crisis affecting young children and their families.
According to the best estimate, each year more than 600 children in our county are poisoned by exposure to toxic lead, primarily from paint in their homes. The poisoning is irreversible. The majority of those affected are living in segregated poverty in Syracuse. We have been told there is not enough funding to fully address this decades-old crisis. Those who speak out about the problem face eviction, and the lead ordinance has yet to be properly enforced due in part to the lack of appropriate allocation of county funds.
Imagine what $85 million (equivalent to 2½ times the local dollars to the health department and three times the local dollars for children and family services) could do, if properly allocated, to meet community needs for childcare, mental health services and for improving our housing and infrastructure. There is also an urgent need to provide adequate staffing and funding for the Onondaga County Health Department, and for solving the lead poisoning crisis once and for all. We join with community organizations, experts in public health, CNY faith leaders, over 1,000 petitioners, and many more community members who are voicing their concern about the use of funds — and yet the avenues available to provide input are far from ideal. We insist upon increased community input and transparency.
The community must be heard on this issue. Our families need relief.
Families for Lead Freedom Now! (South Branch Leaders)
On behalf of 41 others in the Invest in Our Community Coalition