City toddler tests positive for lead poisoning
Once he learned of the lead contamination, Chea posted notices throughout the structure placing the porch off limits. Signs and yellow caution tape were evident on Wednesday; however, the door to the porch was ajar during a visit this week.
Welcome Home critics
The 48-room Welcome Home has become a bone of contention with some social service agencies and the city. The rooming house accepts children, and Chea said many of the parents contend with joblessness, domestic violence or drug addiction.
“Everyone who works with low-income children finds it incomprehensible that the city finds it an OK place for children,” said Sarah Jane Knoy, director of Granite State Organizing Project. She said previous inspections have found loose and flaking paint, pesticides, overcrowding and cleaning items within children’s reach.
Chea said social service agencies often bad-mouth him. But he said social workers, visiting nurses and Springfield College students visit almost daily. Just before a reporter arrived Wednesday, he said police had arrested a mother and left her three children, including an infant, in the care of him and his tenants.
He said about 33 children were living at the building on Wednesday. Twelve are under the age of 6 and are being tested for lead, he said.
Dr. Jose Montero, the state public health director, confirmed that the state is investigating an elevated blood-lead reading in Manchester. He said he could not provide any information about the patient. He said information on what property is involved will become public if the state demands remediation.
He said the state would help any displaced families navigate the system, but Manchester Health Department would “do the heavy lifting.”
Soucy’s department is part of the Neighborhood Enforcement Team, or NET, which conducts surprise inspections of properties with serious violations of housing and safety codes. He acknowledged that the NET team does not test for lead when it inspects properties.
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