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The Wheeler family had to leave their rental home after lead hazards that poisoned Sariyah Wheeler were not fixed. Despite help a Legal Aid attorney they ended up homeless. Credit: Jeff Haynes / Signal Cleveland

Cleveland City Hall is refocusing attention–and personnel–on enforcing the 2019 landmark lead law, which requires landlords to certify their properties as lead safe. Signal Cleveland recently examined the city’s efforts to enforce it in a three-part series that chronicled one family’s struggle to find help under the law.

The city is calling its renewed efforts an “evolution” of its commitment to the lead issue.

Karen Dettmer, the senior strategist for lead hired by Mayor Justin Bibb in April 2022, has been reassigned to a new city department. Dettmer will become the manager of lead initiatives in the Department of Building and Housing. 

The city says Dettmer’s new role will “kick off” the next stage of its lead safe enforcement. She will continue to act as a liaison between the building and health departments and the mayor’s cabinet. 

Larry LaPrade, who was the project manager for the lead team, is returning to the building and housing department, where he will monitor the rental registration process and keep track of property owners who need to be prosecuted for failure to comply with the law.

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Health Reporter (she/her)
Candice, a Cleveland Documenter since 2020, has been a freelance writer whose reporting and digital media work have appeared in The Daily Beast, VICE, Cleveland Magazine and elsewhere. She has written about health, equity and social justice.