MANCHESTER — State health officials have given a family-oriented rooming house 90 days to address lead paint problems that were discovered after a resident child came down with lead contamination, according to an order the state disclosed this week.
In an Order of Lead Hazard Reduction dated Sept. 3, Welcome Home was told to have its premises inspected, develop a remediation plan and address any lead hazards. The rooming house, an old convent with more 48 leased rooms, is located at 286 Concord St. and is home to families with children.
Julio Chea, the manager of the property, said he is preparing an assessment plan and searching for local or federal funds to pay for the work. The order requires that any remediation or lead removal work be done under the direction of a trained, certified contractor.
He said the hazard is limited to a second floor porch where children were allowed to play until one came down with high blood-lead levels. The porch railings contain lead paint, Chea said.
“Every room is clean,” he said.
Michael Dumond, chief of the Bureau of Public Health Protection, confirmed that the exterior porch is the only place where officials detected lead on the property.
Chea also said that the state tested all young children at the rooming house for lead, and the only one with high blood levels was the initial child who prompted the investigation. Dumond said he would not address Chea’s assertion because he was uncertain what he could discuss because of medical confidentiality laws.
Chea has touted Welcome Home as a last-ditch place for strugging people — including families with children — to live. Last month when the lead problem first surfaced, 33 children were living there at the time.
However, some social service agencies have said conditions at Welcome Home are substandard and fault the city for keeping it open.
Chea said none of his families have moved out after news of the lead contamination surfaced. As part of the process, the state delivered a letter to each resident explaining the results of the testing, he said.
The lead order prohibits children or pregnant women from being present when the reduction work takes place.