More than 200 families have already left their homes in East Chicago, forced out after the Environmental Protection Agency discovered dangerously high levels of lead and arsenic in the soil. 

But for some of the 67 families still living in the area, leaving isn’t an option. 

Despite their efforts to stay, several families say they’re being threatened with forced eviction if they don’t leave by the end of the month. 

“We’re here to deliver a message to this city. We’re here to deliver a message to this state,” said Sheila Garland with National Nurses United, who joined others outside East Chicago’s Administration Building to protest the potential eviction. “We’re here to deliver a message to this country. That you are not going to bowl us over.” 

On Tuesday, residents were notified that because demolition was about to begin, they would need to be relocated to temporary housing beginning April 4. 

The main thing that we’re asking for and I don’t think it’s that much – is let the people stay here with their children until the end of the school year. Which is only about a month-and-half away.,” said resident Sherry Hunter. 

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is handling the emergency relocation and says five Indiana families would be moved to Illinois.

Akeesha Daniels, who has lived in the West Calumet House Complex for 13 years, is one of them.

“I feel like moving us and all of the residents of the West Calumet Housing Complex right now would be a disaster,” she said.

Daniels was among a group of protesters who delivered a letter of demands to the mayor’s office Friday. The group sang “we shall overcome” as they demonstrated.

East Chicago’s mayor did not respond to a request for comment.

Published at 3:27 PM CDT on Mar 24, 2017 | Updated at 6:34 PM CDT on Mar 24, 2017


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