Blind woman offered lead-abated home -- and help

February 10, 1994|By Laura Lippman | Laura Lippman,Sun Staff Writer

City Council President Mary Pat Clarke has interceded on behalf of a blind woman who was turned down for a lead-abated home because her current home was not clean.

Ms. Clarke said she "was ballistic" after reading about Lynnette Wragg in The Sun, then called City Homes Inc., the nonprofit that turned down Ms. Wragg's application for one of their renovated rowhouses.

She said City Homes agreed to provide Ms. Wragg, 32, with a house currently being renovated, if someone would help her keep it clean.

"This is not an insurmountable problem," Ms. Clarke said. "Here's a woman who pays her rent. You know she can make it."

Calls poured into The Sun yesterday from citizens throughout the state, most of whom wanted to volunteer their time to the family.

Blind from a gunshot wound she sustained as a teen-ager, Ms. Wragg has lived in her East Baltimore rowhouse for five years, along with her children and her grandson.

Joseph Johnson, the 2-year-old grandson, was diagnosed at a regular checkup as having lead levels above the recommended threshold, prompting Ms. Wragg to apply for a lead-abated house from City Homes.

City Homes, a nonprofit group started by the Enterprise Foundation, buys and renovates housing for low-income families.

According to President and Director Barry Mankowitz, the program targets families with lead-poisoned children. But he said it defeats the purpose of the program if families cannot maintain their homes.

After a visit to Ms. Wragg's house, he turned her down, citing dingy linens and unwashed dishes in the house in the 1700 block of N. Port St.

However, he said he would be willing to rent to Ms. Wragg if someone could help her or her teen-age children take better care of the home. Arrangements still are being worked out to help Ms. Wragg keep her side of that bargain, Ms. Clarke said.

Ms. Wragg's 17-year-old daughter, Michelle Johnson, said she is looking forward to a move.

"It'll be better," she said. "I don't like living here."

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