Skip to main content
Dunham family together during interview

Relief from Lead Risks

Posted on April 14, 2023

Relief from Lead Risks:

We recently had the opportunity to meet up with the Dunham family to discuss their experience with our Lead Safe Homes program and how the reduction of lead risks from their home has taken a huge burden off their shoulders. To see their interview, watch the video below!

Watch the Dunham Interview Below!

Dunham family together during interview

Mike and Sheri Dunham bought their 1930s home in Neenah in 2017. Homes built before the 1980s frequently used lead-based paint, which is now banned due to the health consequences of ingesting or breathing in lead-based dust particles. Lead poisoning is a dangerous disease, especially for children. It can cause brain damage, reduced IQ, learning disabilities, developmental delays, and a range of other health and behavioral effects.

When the Dunhams moved into their home, the paint was flaking off the edges of the siding, the back door, and the basement windows. Initially, they attempted to reduce the lead risks on their own, but quickly realized that it was a large expense, and could be a dangerous project if not managed properly.

They came to a road block; properly mitigating lead risks can be very expensive, but they were living in the middle of a health hazard. Especially for their nine-year-old son, Quinn. An answer to their worries showed up in the form of a postcard from Fox Cities Habitat, advertising free lead mitigation services for families who met the criteria.


“It began to become an overwhelming task. Then one day Sheri tells me that we qualified for the program and I said ‘That’s not a thing’.

When Sheri told me that we qualified, I was just waiting for the other shoe to drop. I still can’t really believe it’s real.”


Mike Dunham laughing during a story

They applied to the program and were quickly accepted. From the moment they applied in September to the completion of the project in October, it only took two months for their family to feel safe again. They did not know what to expect going into the program, but were overjoyed with the outcome and how easy it all was for their family. From keeping the supplies cleaned up in the yard, to being able to grant them access to the house while they were working, the disruption of their day to day life was minimally impacted.

“Today feels great – to know that it’s gone, to know that Quinn’s lead levels are fine. For everything to be so fresh and safe… It’s a brand new house. It feels joyful to know that that’s not our project anymore.”

Quinn stated that he likes his home a lot more now and can play outside without the fear of lead harming him.The family looks forward to multiple activities now that they know this risk is out of their home. They can relax outside on their patio and feel safe, Sheri can now garden (which she had been putting off) without the risk of lead in the soil, and they can let Quinn play freely in the basement and the yard without concerns for his health.

The Lead Safe Homes Program is funded through a grant from Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services. To learn more about the program, or to begin the application process, visit


“It’s hard to know what’s out there and how to take advantage of it. We need advocates to do that sometimes – to help people.

When you’re down, you don’t always think someone is there to come and help you. It’s a hard place to be in. You don’t always recognize your value.”


Sheri Dunham sharing her story