Written by Brooks Berndt
This past summer residents of the West Calumet Housing Complex in East Chicago, Indiana, were told that their homes were surrounded by high levels of lead and arsenic. Their mayor then ordered that these residents relocate. On April 1, 2017, 81 West Calumet families will face forcible eviction and placement in neighborhoods in which they would never choose to live due to fears over safety.
According to a press release issued by the Rev. Cheryl Rivera of the Northwest Indiana Federation of Interfaith Organization, mothers are frantic, crying, afraid and frustrated that East Chicago Housing Authority is forcing them into worse living conditions that are not comparable to their current location. These families have been looking for housing relocation in safe neighborhoods, but with no success yet.
Families had believed that they were granted extensions until June 2017. With the approaching deadline, they fear that they may be forced to move from a bad situation to an even worse situation that places them at greater risk of violence. Moreover, parents are wondering why children are being uprooted from their schools with 2 months left in the school year.
A coalition of organizations are calling for an emergency meeting on the forced evictions on Wednesday, March 22nd, at 5:30 pm. They will gather at Pastrick Library located at 1008 W. Chicago, East Chicago, Indiana.
For more background, read: “East Chicago Lead Contamination Galvanizes Residents” by Craig Lyons