Oakland National Night Out District 4 Melrose High Hopes NCPC 27X Using GTLO Pilot!

We asked the community how to do this...

We've been working with folks living in the intersecting communities of Districts 4, 5 & 6 over the few months because we realized even though we found where the lead is we can't just walk up to peoples' houses and knock on the door unannounced and think that's going to be received well - plus it could creep people out which is definitely not the goal. We showed them what we had and asked what they would do if it were them trying to get this this potentially life-saving data out to people all over Oakland, to the their neighbors.

They were clear about what would work and what wouldn't and recommended we come to the neighborhood annual festival on July 28 to talk with more neighbors and then again on August 7 for National Night Out to meet more community members at multiple block parties and show them what we have so everyone can start talking about lead in larger groups and start checking their homes, their children, and their communities for lead poisoning.

We listened and it's starting to work... 

Thank you Melrose High Hopes NCPC 27x for your leadership and guidance!

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We started with a specific group of people in mind because that's who public sector agencies are tasked to look for...but the community didn't want to take that approach.

We started this work 18 months ago asking public sector agencies what they do to find lead poisoning so we could see if we could find a way to use data and the Internet of Things to find everyone at once, rather than 2 or 3 per month, to fix things faster.  They explained their process and identified as group of constituents being at particularly high risk for reasons like economic status, age, race, and gender who are living in every district in Oakland. We found 1,847 matches who were also pre-qualified for federal grants and funding to abate lead and provide health care.

But when we shared this with community leaders they explained they didn't feel prioritizing a specific, small group, was an equitable way to engage the public on a threat of this scale and everyone should be treated equally, door by door. They said because lead is spreading from every house to everyone else's house it wouldn't be fair to not check a single, middle-income, man's house who isn't taking care of his place who could be living next door to a house with a family and kids with open windows and a breeze that blows lead dust from his house into theirs.  FYI, it would have to be more than a light breeze but you can definitely breath in lead dust from someone's house that is covered in peeling lead paint that is breaking apart and entering our shared environments like this:

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They asked for 1900-1978 housing units on a map...

They wanted to go down each street, door-to-door, block-by-block, and check in with each neighbor to let them know they may have a lead paint issue and to ask if they would  be open to talking more about testing houses, kids, soil, dust and air.  This way everyone gets the same treatment and same information. As soon as we walked up to the block party the Captain started giving us the run down on her first pass through the block...


She was scrolling through it so easily it was like she built the dashboard so that was cool to see.  It was also great to see how much new information she was able to share about topics related to housing in the neighborhood which we'll be able to add now to future housing maps. 

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The Block Captain explained that as soon as she received a link to our lead risk maps, about 1 hour before National Night Out started, she walked up and down her whole street and checked in with all the neighbors she knew who were home and would be having follow up meetings with people as soon as the next day.

She was able to quickly identify the houses and have a friendly conversation with people she sees every day.  She had plenty of feedback for us and were happy and surprised to see how many people were ready to get started testing that night. People have a LOT of questions and they want to take immediate actions so we invited them to join us getting their own maps if they did not want to wait for community activities and to reach us or visit SmartOakland to find instructions for how to get their kids tested for lead poisoning along with getting ready to test their houses.


Everyone we talked with at the party were very interested and had plenty of questions for which we gave them fliers and invited them to get maps, join our Oakland Get the Lead Out Working Group and to give to our GTLO Campaigns in every district.  We let them know this is just the first step because now we need people to be testing their homes and their children so we can start matching them with people and funding who can help get it taken care of with them.

We even had a chance to talk with an Oakland Police Officer who was there with an OPD group along with Oakland Fire Fighters. We saw a few candidates who are running for open or contested City Council positions as well and had great conversations with them about their interest and support for the topic of getting lead out of Oakland neighborhoods.


People were ready to act right away and couldn't believe they didn't know lead poisoning was an issue in their community or that someone hadn't already been telling them what to do about it.  

We're not about placing blame, just about making better, faster ways for folks to find out there's an issue then work as quickly with partners, external funders, and supporters to get the issue resolved as quickly as possible to get people safe inside their homes.

We had to be very clear though - we are not funded and have been volunteering time, funds, technology, and resources until now (other than about $4500 raised last year by kind volunteers) and we need sponsorship to help support the scale of this issue getting the data, instructions, and connections out to people throughout Oakland.

Please support our campaigns so we can help people protect themselves and build data-driven resilience into every micro-community.  We need to stick together.

Help Fund Information Outreach and Connection Building So We Can Get the Lead Out of Oakland Communities!

We set up crowdfunding campaigns for all 7 Oakland voting districts because we need financial support from the public, businesses, health care providers, housing, and government representatives to help us pay to get this insight out and engage with folks because there are too many people and too many homes for us to reach with no funding in place.

These campaigns equal $1 per person in each district area where there are a lot of pre-1978 housing units with people living in them right now who may not know they are at risk for lead poisoning.

The $1 per person charge includes a small portion to pay for the data and GPS-enabled maps to find the lead locations to test, then $2000 per month for 6 months for a Project Manager to be paid to do these outreach activities using the data, and another $2000 per month to pay for people to help the Project Manager get the word out and data back in so we can connect people with more resources to finish the job.

You probably know someone with Alzheimer's Disease, or autism, or someone died early from a heart attack, or cancer...the list goes on. You can help stop new people from experiencing these health outcomes because they spent time in a lead-poisoned room.  It takes so little to end this.


Very good news for home owners...

An 18-year old law suit against lead paint manufacturers means some money is coming to people in pre-1951 housing thanks to Alameda County District Attorneys who've been fighting to protect Oaklanders for a long time and get money to fix their homes for them.

The problem is the first amount of money is only $60M and will go very fast to the first home owners who are prepared to step up and be connected with those funds.  Our goal is to help match as many folks as possible with this funding which is why we need to make contact with people in older housing to get things as ready as possible to hope to receive those funds before they run out.

We cannot guarantee anyone will receive funding by working with SmartOakland but we're working hard to do what we can to create the best case scenario for people who need to fix their homes.

Stay tuned - we're working on the mobile app and a way to connect constituent opinions about progress on this issue with election activities.

In progress,

Stephanie Hayden
Executive Director, Co-founder