U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Around 80 families are still living in lead-contaminated public housing in East Chicago, Indiana. This week, they’ll receive details about where the city plans to relocate them after the March 31 deadline to move out.

U.S. Housing and Urban Development spokeswoman Elena Gaona say 250 families have relocated from West Calumet Housing Complex since the lead crisis began last fall. Another 19 have housing lined up.

 

A lead-contaminated public housing complex in East Chicago, Indiana could soon become a lead-contaminated vacant lot – and if local and federal officials can’t resolve a key dispute, it might stay that way for a long time.

That’s because the city and Environmental Protection Agency are at odds over redevelopment plans for the neighborhood.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb will visit East Chicago on Friday to discuss his disaster declaration for the city’s ongoing lead contamination crisis.

Meanwhile, lawyers for residents being displaced by the contamination say the order doesn’t properly address the biggest concerns.

 

East Chicago’s lead crisis came up Thursday at Ben Carson’s confirmation hearing to lead the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Carson, the retired neurosurgeon from Detroit tapped by President-elect Donald Trump to lead HUD, was answering a question from U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.).

Donnelly asked if Carson would continue HUD’s response to lead contamination in an East Chicago public housing complex.

A group of Indiana lawmakers called this month to speed up emergency funding for the demolition of a lead-contaminated public housing complex in East Chicago, Indiana.

U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, a Democrat who’s represented Northwest Indiana’s first district since 1985, says the town’s economy needs this assistance to recover.

Residents in East Chicago, Indiana, will get more time, help and money to move out of a lead-contaminated public housing complex.

The federal government announced Friday it has settled a discrimination complaint with the Chicago-based Shriver National Center on Poverty Law about the relocation.

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.

Annie Ropeik / Indiana Public Broadcasting

 

The West Calumet neighborhood in East Chicago, Ind. is a federally designated clean-up site — a Superfund. Its soil contains lead and arsenic at levels that, residents recently learned, are much worse than expected.

Now, hundreds of families have been told to find new homes by November. But many residents — and their lawyers — say they can't move that fast without more help.

The Lafayette Housing Authority (LHA) plans to take applications for new clients this year. LHA closed its waiting list more than a year ago due to high demand and limited funds to help low-income families secure housing.

Executive Director Al Davis says when they closed the list, there were 1,200 families needing assistance. He says the situation seemed almost hopeless to those seeking help.

“Folks would sign up. We would tell them it would take at least two, if not three, years for them to be assisted,” he recalls.

Homestead Consulting saves families $14M

Dec 26, 2012

A Lafayette area agency has helped approximately 600 families with home-buying education and foreclosure avoidance this year. Homestead Consulting conducts pre-purchase and prevention counseling for households in Tippecanoe and surrounding counties.

Executive Director Marie Morse says the service has helped local homeowners save more than $14 million in 2012.

"That's a big amount for our homeowners to keep. Most families, their major net worth is in their home. So it's very important that they keep that if they have money already invested in that."