Indiana Resident: Lead-Tainted Home Safer Than Moving To Violent Chicago

(CBS) – Friday was the deadline to get out for East Chicago, Ind. residents living in a lead-contaminated housing complex.

As CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker discovered, some are packing up, but others are refusing to leave.

For 13 years, Akeeshia Daniels has been living in the West Calumet public housing complex.

She started packing to leave because of lead-contaminated soil throughout the development. But she’s still there. Some landlords wont’ accept housing vouchers, some want too much money. And some places Daniels refuses to go – like Chicago’s Altgeld Gardens complex.

“Everything you see about Chicago is shooting. Even yesterday, I watched seven people were killed in one day,” Daniels says. “I’m so afraid to move my kids to Chicago.”

Daniels is one of 58 families left in the West Calumet complex, where many of the units are boarded or empty. Nearly 300 families have moved out.

Some are about to leave.

“It’s a lot better than staying out here and worrying about the lead levels and my children being affected,” Lutricia Clay says.

That’s the argument East Chicago officials are making. They declined to speak on camera, but say they want children out before the weather warms up and the lead-contaminated dust begins to fly.

Families refusing to leave have until Monday to file an appeal with the city’s housing department. The hearings are scheduled for Tuesday. Anyone still in the complex by Friday can expect to get an eviction notice.

 

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