East Chicago Lead Crisis

East Chicago Relocation Deadline October 31st

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October 27, 2016

By: Annie Ropeik, IPB News

EAST CHICAGO -Monday October 31, marks the first deadline for families to move out of a lead-contaminated East Chicago, Indiana public housing complex. But only about one in 10 families will meet that deadline.

Since the start of September, 332 households in West Calumet Housing Complex have been looking for new homes. As of late October, about 30 of them have succeeded — mostly moving within the city of East Chicago. City attorney Carla Morgan says most who remain plan to move away to places like Gary and Hammond.

They have to go because their housing complex is going to be torn down. Its soil contains dangerous levels of lead and arsenic left by an old lead smelting plant. Residents received federal housing vouchers to help them move. The first deadline to use those vouchers is Halloween.

Those who don’t find housing by then can get up to two 30-day extensions — giving them until around the end of the year. If they need more time, Morgan says, the city may move them temporarily into other East Chicago public housing.

The city and state are still offering locals free blood testing, vaccinations and other services. They’ve also switched the polling place inside West Calumet to join another just outside it. Folks who recently moved can still vote anywhere in Lake County.


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