February 17, 2021

Young: East Chicago Lead Issue Must Never Happen Again

WASHINGTON – Following a Washington Post report today regarding the West Calumet Housing Complex, U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) condemned the decades of failure in East Chicago and reissued a charge for the federal government step up in fighting lead contamination.

The Washington Post cites an inspector general report that says the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and other agencies did not follow their own regulations and failed to notify residents of contaminant risks.

“I’ve sat across the table from families who lived in the West Calumet Housing Complex and saw their grief,” Senator Young said. “Their government let them down, and we must never let this happen again. Not in East Chicago. Not anywhere.”

Senator Young has cosponsored multiple bipartisan bills that will help combat lead in public housing. He helped introduce the Get the Lead Out of Assisted Housing Act with Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) to require HUD to update its Uniform Physical Condition Standards, among other provisions. Senator Young also helped introduce the Lead-Safe Housing for Kids Act with Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) to protect children living in assisted housing from lead poisoning. Recently, Senator Young filed a similar amendment to the Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Resolution in support of the removal of lead from public housing.

In 2016, then-Rep. Young introduced legislation to provide funds for individuals displaced by the contamination in East Chicago. In 2017, shortly after joining the Senate, Senator Young joined other elected officials in inviting the EPA Administrator and HUD Secretary to visit the East Chicago site. Throughout the process, Senator Young, former Senator Donnelly, and former Rep. Visclosky advocated for residents of East Chicago, including requesting additional time for public comment from local stakeholders