East Chicago Asks Feds For $8 Million To Raze Lead-tainted Housing Complex

Nov 3, 2016

Some 1,000 residents of the West Calumet housing complex will have to relocate.
Credit Lauren Chapman / Indiana Public Broadcasting

The East Chicago Housing Authority is requesting $8 million from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

It says it needs more assistance leveling a housing complex on soil contaminated with lead and arsenic hundreds of times higher than federal safety standards.

East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland announced the city’s intention to demolish the complex last June. The more than 1,000 residents are eligible for HUD relocation vouchers.

In a letter sent to HUD Secretary Julian Castro this week, U.S. Sens. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Dan Coats (R-IN) and U.S. Representative Pete Visclosky (D-1st) wrote the additional funds “are central to providing a long term solution to address the public health crisis.”

As of October 21st, 29 out of 332 families had moved. Those who can’t find new housing by November 30th might receive an extension or be forced to temporarily relocate to nearby public housing.