U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Office of Community Planning and Development

East Chicago Consolidated Plan Executive Summary

Consolidated Plan Contact


Action Plan

The City's Consolidated Plan has four functions. It will serve as a planning document, an application for federal funds, a strategy to be followed in carrying out HUD programs and an action plan that provides a basis for assessing performance. The plan incorporates fourteen distinct neighborhoods, all of which were encouraged to participate in the City's public hearing process. The plan is also a reflection of the neighborhoods' housing and community development concerns and related funding priorities. The plan's resources largely involve four formula HUD programs, which are the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG), HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME), and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA). On an annual basis, the City receives CDBG and HOME grants. In Fiscal Year 1995, the City's CDBG allocation was was $1,960,000 and the amount of its HOME grant was $440,000.

The City has sought to emphasize neighborhood planning and foster the development of neighborhood-based organizations (NBOs) through its consolidated planning process. The City recognizes the NBOs' critical role in the achievement of community development initiatives within each of the City's fourteen designated neighborhoods.

Citizen Participation

Citizens were encouraged to participate in the development of the Consolidated Plan through seven neighborhood meetings at city-wide community centers. The distribued flyers to all public housing and Section 8 residents, and in addition to the neighborhood meetings, the City also held two public hearings. Further, a draft copy of the plan was placed in strategic locations, and a plan summary was also published in the Hammond Times. Draft copies of the plan were also sent to the City's three adjacent communities because of the plan's potential impact on these communities. Many comments were received from residents at the seven neighborhood meetings, although no citizen comments were received at the two public hearings.


Since 1980, East Chicago has lost more than 10,0000 jobs in the high-wage employment sectors of steel manufacturing, oil refining and railroad products. In 1970, the City's population was 57,669, but by 1990 that number had declined to 33,892. This lose of 18,000 residents represents a 40% population decline over a period of the past two decades.

The incidence of moderate, low and very low income levels among households in East Chicago is extremely high, with over one-half of all block group areas containing more than 51% of persons who are living below 80% of the median income level. The City's median family income is $24,511.



In areas of the City, the existing housing stock has declined in quality and quantity as residents have left the area. Between 1980 and 1990, East Chicago lost nearly 10% of its housing units. This loss of housing is attributed mostly to planned demolition and destruction by disaster with the greatest losses occurring in three of the City's census tracts. Renters in these census tracts have significantly fewer opportunities for homeownership than renters elsewhere in the City due to very low median family income levels. Conversely, the new increase in housing units occurred exclusively in one City census tract and accounted for 100% of the City's housing gains.

The City's overall housing vacancy rate in 1980 was 8.3% with a vacancy rate among rental units of 10.1%. By 1990, however, a citywide vacancy rate of 10.1% existed with an 8.6% vacancy among rental units. Consequently, within a ten year span, more owner-occupied units than rental units became vacant. This trend indicates a downturn in housing quality and/or the ability of households to become homeowners in East Chicago.

Housing Needs

Nearly 75% of the City's housing is more than 35-years old, creating the need for an increase in new housing development for households of all income ranges. For low-income residents wanting to become homeowners, affordable housing is especially scare. In 1990, for example, only 87 housing units out of a possible 5,022 affordable units were listed as vacant and available for sale, representing extremely limited homeownership opportunities for person living below 80% of the median income.

Conversely, the outlook for low and moderate income renters was moderately better. For example, in 1990, 621 units out of a possible 6,558 affordable units were available for rent. Of that number, 612 of the available units were within the affordability range of households with incomes below 50% of the area median. With approximately 51% of all renter units (3,691 units) and 1% of all homeowner units ( 56 units) in violation of housing codes, there is a need for minimal rehabilitation of these units to bring them up to local building code standards.

In listing its priority housing needs, East Chicago places both large and small families living in rental units with physical defects and in overcrowding conditions as a high priority and estimates that approximately $4 million is needed to meet this priority. The City also assigned as a high priority elderly renters living in units with physical defects and estimates that $13 million is needed to meet this priority. Homeowners living in units having physical defects are also placed in the high priority need category. The City estimates that approximately $1.4 million as the amount of funds needed to meet this homeowner priority need.

Currently, there are no supportive housing facilities for person with HIV/AIDS. Most City residents afflicted with AIDS must rely on less than $500 in disability income. The closest facilities offering supportive housing assistance for City residents with AIDS are in Chicago, Ft. Wayne or the Munster Community Hospice.

Housing Market Conditions

In 1990, the median value of an owner-occupied housing unit in East Chicago was $42,600. In 1995, HUD's Fair Market Rents (FMR) for East Chicago (FMRs are largely based on a City's actual market rental rates) were $321 for an efficiency; $422 for a 1 bedroom unit; $527 for a 2 bedroom unit; $659 for a 3 bedroom unit, and $737 for a 4 bedroom unit. The City's homeownership rate of 45.4% is significantly low in comparison to the County rate of 67.8% and the State rate of 70%.

Affordable Housing Needs

The loss of 10% of the City's existing housing stock severely restricts housing opportunities for low-income residents. Throughout the City, many housing units are vacant, either intentionally left vacant/boarded up or simply abandoned altogether by property owners. Between 1980 and 1990, the vacant housing stock in East Chicago increased by 124 units from 1,238 to 1,362 vacant. These units represent over 10% of the City's total housing stock, with the most adversely touched residents being low-income families, particularly those of female-headed households. The City has identified eight groups of residents in need of housing assistance. They are the extremely low income non-elderly homeowners; the 191 renter households needing some form of subsidized affordable housing; both small and large family and elderly households with incomes below 50% of the MFI, particularly Hispanics and large families living in overcrowding conditions.

Homeless Needs

Even though the City reports an estimated 50 to 150 persons in East Chicago as homeless, it lacks homeless shelters. The City expects to undertake the development of a written Continuum of Care Plan. Based on its preliminary interviews with some of the homeless service providers in the East Chicago, the City has the framework for a full continuum of care system, however, these providers think that there are gaps in the system, particularly in the areas of transitional housing and permanent independent living, that need to be addressed. Once the gaps in the existing care system are identified and resolved, the City will then implement its improvements to the existing system. The City also plans to to assess the extent of the homeless as well as the at-risk population.

Public and Assisted Housing Needs

There are 808 public housing units in East Chicago that the East Chicago Housing Authority (ECHA) administers. The ECHA plans to modernize all of its public housing projects through HUD's Comprehensive Grant Program. The Authority's activities will include both maintenance and rehabilitation of the units. ECHA also administers 578 Section 8 vouchers and certificates, as well as 122 units of subsidized rental housing for the elderly. The waiting list for public housing units includes 191 renter households.

According to the Authority, the turnover among Section 8 households is rare with perhaps only 2-3 turnovers annually and applicants on the waiting list may have to wait anywhere from 12-36 months for rental assistance.

Barriers to Affordable Housing

The City cites a number of factors affecting the affordability of housing. The first factor involves public policy for the approval of sites and buildings and the related requirements used in housing development and rehabilitation. The second is the City's zoning ordinance for residential development, which has the greatest impact on local housing costs. Through this ordinance, the City is able to set standards for land use, such as lot size. Other factors affecting the affordability of housing in East Chicago include building code standards and residential tax rates.

Fair Housing

The City certifies that it will affirmatively further fair housing and has placed fair housing counseling as one of its priority needs, assigning $25,000 as the estimated amount needed to meet this particular priority.

Lead-Based Paint

Studies have shown that typically lead paint is found in homes constructed prior to 1978. Since over 85% of the City's housing units were constructed prior to 1978, the probability of finding lead paint is high. Between 9,105 and 11,728 or 68% and 87%) of the City's entire housing stock may contain lead-based paint hazards. Thus, the City in coordination with the Lake County Health Department, will continue its lead testing program under the County Child Health Program for children 6 months to 6 years of age. The City has also named lead based paint/hazards as a priority need and estimates that $2 million is needed to meet this priority.

Community Development Needs

In the area of infrastructure improvement, the City has designated street and sidewalk improvements as a high priority and estimates that $6 million is needed to meet this particular priority. The City defines high priority as activities that will be funded by the City during the five-year period from 1995-1999.


The City's Department of Community Development is responsible for the Consolidated Plan. This Department will continue to lend its support to efforts that links service providers and housing developers. East Chicago also continues to coordinate its implementation of the Consolidated Plan with Lake County, the East Chicago Housing Authority, as well as with County and City nonprofit and social agencies. In particular, the City will continue its work in creating, fostering and supporting its neighborhood-based organizations, community development corporations and community housing development organizations.


Housing and Community Development Objectives and Priorities

East Chicago's has three categories of priorities -- low, medium and high. A high priority designation is given to improving the physical condition of housing for low income renters and homeowners and to alleviating overcrowding conditions in rental units occupied by ow-income families. Further, the City has designed outreach assessment for the homeless as a medium priority. A medium priority is an activity that may be funded by the City within the next 5 years. Examples of the City's other medium priority activities are neighborhood facilities, job training child care centers, senior and transportation services.

The City has designated as low priorities asbestos removal, substance abuse services and parking facilities. A low priority is defined as an activity that will not be funded by the City during the next 5 years. An estimated $320 million would be needed to meet all of the City's high, medium and low priority needs.

Housing Priorities

The City sets 4 specific housing objectives. The first is to increase opportunities for Neighborhood-Based Organizations to construct new housing and the rehabilitation of existing housing for households with incomes up to 120% of the area median income. The second objective is to increase homeownership opportunities for households with incomes up to 120% of the area median income and to encourage the use of apprenticeships in the construction trades to carry out these projects.

The City's third objective is to expand moderate housing rehabilitation programs for homeowners with incomes up to 80% of the area median income. Its fourth objective is to expand moderate housing rehabilitation programs for rental property owners who agree to lease their units to households with incomes up to 80% of the area median income, and to encourage the use of apprenticeships in the construction trades to carry out these programs. The City also cites its continued support for homeless prevention programs and for emergency shelter and transitional housings services through local nonprofit organizations and social service agencies.

Non-Housing Community Development Priorities

The City's community development objectives are to expand the quality and quantity of public community services and cites as an example its continued support of the Senior Companion Program. Other objectives included the City's commitment to acquire thirty-seven parcels of property in the Brickyard Redevelopment District for industrial use development, and to continue in its efforts to provide City residents with excellent professional police, fire protection and emergency medical services.

Anti-Poverty Strategy

Even the resources that the City has available for reducing the number of families with incomes below the poverty level are limited, the implementation of its anti-poverty strategy continues to be a City priority. East Chicago will continue its strong support of social service agencies and nonprofit organizations attempting to integrate the provision of social services and affordable housing activities for households below the poverty level. East Chicago will also continue to work with businesses that are interested in expanding in or relocating to the area.

Housing and Community Development Resources

East Chicago receives an annual CDBG grant of $l,960,000 and $440,000 in HOME funds. In addition, the City anticipates other forms of federal assistance, such as the Federal Housing Administration Mortgage Insurance programs, HOPWA, Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program, Section 811 Housing for the Disabled, Section 8, HOPE program, Public Housing Comprehensive Grant Program and Homeless Assistance. Further, the City anticipates assistance from various State programs, such as the First HOME '95 and Community Development Action Grant Program.


Description of Key Projects

The City's annual plan cites a wide range of housing and community development activities. The following are examples of those activities:

  • $250,000
    Purchase of Fire Truck

  • $300,000
    Fire Station Renovations

  • $515,000
    Acquire Land for Industrial Development

  • $ 50,000
    Senior Companion Program

  • $100,000
    Low-Income Homebuyer Program

  • $ 23,200
    CHDO Housing Activities

  • $194,000
    Administration of Housing Rehabilitation Program


    The plan's activities are primarily located in low-income neighborhoods with several activities designated as citywide benefit.

    Lead Agencies

    The City's lead agency for the implementation of the plan is the Department of Community Development.

    Housing Goals

    Approximately 45 low-income renters and homeowners will benefit from activities involving a Neighborhood Based Organization for new housing construction, a Community Reinvestment Project to expand staff capacity to carry out affordable housing projects and through a housing rehabilitation program and its administration.


    MAP 1 depicts points of interest in the jurisdiction.

    MAP 2 depicts points of interest and low-moderate income areas.

    MAP 3 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and minority concentration levels.

    MAP 4 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and unemployment levels.

    MAP 5 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects.

    TABLE (without associated map) provides information about the project(s).

    To comment on East Chicago's Consolidated Plan, please contact:

    John Artis
    Community Development Director
    Phone: (219) 397-9974

    Return to Indiana's Consolidated Plans.