Lead contamination displaces over 1,000 Indiana residents

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A low-income apartment complex in Indiana, about 25 miles south of downtown Chicago, located near an old, closed-down lead plant was marked on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s priority list for cleanup in 2009, but is just now seeing action, according to an article by Jason Keyser for ABC News.

The old plant closed down in 1985, according to the article. In 2012, a plan was finally put in place to remove the tainted soil. Though the plan was put in place in 2012, it was not until this summer that the EPA took action.

From the article:

Mayor Anthony Copeland, who was already skeptical of the EPA plan, urged residents in a letter in late July to temporarily relocate. Days later, the city sent another letter informing them it was seeking to demolish the entire 346-unit complex and they must find new housing as soon as possible.

“I was like, ‘Wait a minute. What is he saying? How long have you known this?'” said Daniels, 40, who grew up in the area and has lived in the complex for nearly 13 years. “They were doing testing all of these years and they never said anything. That was kind of shocking.”

Now, more than 1,000 residents are competing with each other as they seek to find a new residence in the area.

From the article:

The housing authority has promised residents federal vouchers to help them pay rent at new homes. But Daniels and other residents wonder where they can go.

Other nearby low-income housing units have waiting lists of years, and she doesn’t want to leave behind the 85-year-old grandmother she cares for.

Private landlords want cash up front, which she doesn’t have. Even if she did, she’s competing with hundreds of other residents hustling to find new homes.

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