A now-demolished public housing development that was once located in East Chicago, Indiana posed a health threat to residents over a period of decades before the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in 2016 ordered the relocation of everyone dwelling there because of lead contamination.
About 1,100 people were living at the West Calumet Housing Complex (WCHC) in 2016, with around 680 of them children, according to a HUD Inspector General report.
“[The Office of Public and Indian Housing], as well as other Federal, State, and City of East Chicago authorities, missed opportunities to identify site contamination and notify WCHC residents of those hazards in a timely manner. The missed opportunities placed the residents’ health and safety at risk and contributed to the lead poisoning of children living in WCHC,” according to the watchdog.
“We are concerned that the health risks to residents living in many HUD-funded properties remain unidentified and that residents may suffer as a result,” the Inspector General report noted. “While WCHC was demolished and no longer poses a threat to residents, it highlights how proper oversight is necessary to ensure that environmental threats are identified in a timely manner.”