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

Consolidated Plan Contact


Lake County is located in the northwestern corner of Indiana on Lake Michigan. It is adjacent to the Chicago metropolitan area and is part of the great urban crescent running south and east along the lake from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to South Bend, Indiana. While the northern portion of the county is very urban and developed, the southern end is sparsely settled. Urban Lake County includes the geographic area of Lake County, not including the cities of East Chicago, Gary, and Hammond.

Action Plan

To implement its Consolidated Plan in the first year, the county expects to receive $565,000 in HOME Investment Partnership (HOME) Program funds and $2 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds. Projects to be undertaken in the first year include modifications to city hall and the St. John Police Station to bring them into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); street, drainage, and sewer improvements at various locations; and support for the Northwest Indiana Open Housing Center.

Citizen Participation

In an effort to reach out to the numerous and diverse communities and populations served by the Lake County program, the county held a series of public hearings on the Consolidated Plan and its elements in all 15 of the participating towns and cities during the spring of 1995. Information received from the public at these hearings became a part of the plan's development process. The county made the Consolidated Plan available for public review from May 26 to June 26, 1995. A final public hearing on the plan was held on June 8, 1995.


In 1990 the county had a total population of 240,820. The total number of households in 1990 equaled 85,415, up 20 percent from 1980. Whites represented 96 percent of the urban county population, Hispanics almost 5 percent, African Americans 1.4 percent, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders 0.9 percent, and Native Americans represented the remaining 0.2 percent of the population.

The median family income (MFI) for the county is $35,604. In 1990 there were 11,700 very low-income households (0-50 percent of MFI), 13,172 low-income households (51-80 percent of MFI), and 7,296 moderate-income households (81-95 percent of MFI). Of those households with incomes below 80 percent of MFI, 40 percent were elderly. As a proportion of their population, Native Americans had the highest number of households with very low incomes, followed by whites and Hispanics.



During the "rust belt" recession of the early 1980s, the county was extremely hard hit by industry closings and job losses. The area has experienced a modest economic revival in recent years, but a recent Indiana University study projects that Lake County's population will continue to decline and estimates that it will reach 470,000 persons by the year 2000.

Housing Needs

Among renters, 86 percent of very low-income households, 48 percent of low-income households, and 8 percent of moderate-income households have housing problems. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development defines a household as having housing problems if the unit is physically deficient or overcrowded, or if the household pays 30 percent or more of its income on housing expenses. Among owners, 60 percent of very low- income households, 25 percent of low-income households, and 15 percent of moderate- income households have housing problems.

Housing Market Conditions

Of the 88,524 housing units in urban Lake County in 1990, more than 10 percent were constructed before 1940, and 28 percent were built between 1940 and 1959. Overall, more than three-quarters of all housing units were built before 1979. Almost three-quarters of all housing units are nonrental units. Of the total housing units, 58 percent are estimated to be substandard to some degree, and less than 2 percent are substandard to the degree of requiring demolition.

A brief analysis of housing costs for urban Lake County shows that, overall, housing costs and values are much higher in Lake County than in the State as a whole. The median home value ranges from a low of $35,200 in portions of Lake Station to a high of $102,300 in Schererville.

Affordable Housing Needs

Among renters, 85 percent of very low-income households, 48 percent of low-income households, and 8 percent of moderate-income households spend 30 percent or more of their income on housing. More than half of small rental households (four or fewer persons) in the very low-income group pay at least 50 percent of their income for housing. Among homeowners, 59 percent of low-income households, 31 percent of low-income households, and 9 percent of moderate-income households spend 30 percent or more of their income on housing.

Homeless Needs

Lake County has a substantial homelessness problem. The 1990 Shelter and Street Night Count Census of the homeless indicated only 12 homeless people in urban Lake County, as opposed to several hundred in the core cities, such as Hammond, Gary, and East Chicago. Given the scattered incidence of unsheltered homeless persons in the rest of the county, it is difficult to obtain a precise count of this population, but it is thought to be relatively small.

There is one homeless shelter for the general population in urban Lake County. This is the Calumet Township facility in Gary. The facility is located just across the city limits of Gary and is primarily used to serve the needs of that city. The facility has the capacity to shelter 30 people and provides other supportive services.

Public and Assisted Housing Needs

Urban Lake County does not have any public housing units; however, there are 207 Section 8 vouchers and certificates used in the county. Twenty-six of these units are project-based units in Whiting administered by the Hammond Housing Authority. Another 50 are tied to the Section 202 elderly units in Merrillville. The remainder are in other parts of the county. There are not any unused vouchers or certificates, and the county does not expect to lose any of these vouchers or certificates.

In addition, there are 94 Rural Economic and Community Development (Section 515) units in the county. There are no vacancies in these units other than those due to normal turnover.

Barriers to Affordable Housing

Lake County, as an urban county with numerous independent towns, cities, and townships, as well as the county government, has an extremely difficult task in conducting a comprehensive study and analysis of all public policies, codes, and regulations that might constitute a barrier to affordable housing. However, the county maintains that there are no obvious, onerous regulations that inhibit development of housing, especially lower income housing.

Fair Housing

The county will further fair housing by conducting an analysis of impediments to fair housing choice within the jurisdiction, taking appropriate actions to overcome the effects of any impediments identified through that analysis, and maintaining records reflecting that analysis and any subsequent actions.

Lead-Based Paint

An analysis of the presence of lead-based paint in housing in urban Lake County shows a relatively small percentage of suspected units with young children. Of the units constructed before 1979, 71 percent may contain lead-based paint. About 12 percent are estimated to be occupied by households with children under age 7 and more than 3 percent are estimated to be occupied by low- to medium-income households with children under age 7.

Over the next 3 years, Lake County has a goal to substantially reduce the threat from lead- based paint in existing dwelling units, and to prevent its introduction into new dwelling units to the extent that it is reasonable and possible with the technology, programs, personnel, and funding available. The county will undertake the following strategy to accomplish its 3- year goal:

Other Issues

The county estimates that the following households may be in need of supportive housing: 2,212 elderly, 2,884 frail elderly, 1,313 severely mentally ill, 33 developmentally disabled, 2,843 physically disabled, 328 persons with substance abuse problems, and 152 persons with HIV/AIDS and related diseases.

Community Development Needs

Some of the community development needs that the county has identified as high priority include:


Housing Priorities

Housing priorities include the following:

Nonhousing Community Development Priorities

The long-term nonhousing community development priorities include the following:

Antipoverty Strategy

The county has long believed that the best antipoverty strategy is to assist in providing employment to all of those who are able to work. In keeping with this view, the county participates in a number of local and regional efforts to promote economic development and jobs.

For example, the county put $1 million in CDBG funds and $1 million in Federal Revenue Sharing funds into a local revolving loan fund. The revolving loan fund has made low- interest loans and similar financing available for 10 economic development projects that have created or retained about 4,000 jobs. As part of the program, the county encourages businesses receiving assistance to participate in the Lakeshore Employment program and related job training programs.

The county also works regularly with all local banking institutions, the Indiana Department of Commerce, and other such entities to foster new economic development in the area. One part of this effort, which is unique to the Lake County area, is the Northwest Indiana Forum. This group, composed of government and business representatives, undertakes numerous economic development projects.

Housing and Community Development Resources

Various Federal programs are available to the county for housing assistance. In addition, the county has access to State programs for housing assistance. The only local programs available to provide housing assistance are the emergency funds supported by local tax revenues and operated by the townships. The exact form, type, and level of assistance vary from area to area, but, generally, emergency funds are available to assist households with housing, transportation, food, and clothing.

The county does not have any resources from for-profit organizations. However, it does receive nonprofit resources, such as funds from the Federal Home Loan Bank program, which operates an affordable housing program that is funded by a charge on member banks. The county also has access to the Lilly Endowment, which has made low-income housing a priority in funding projects and programs.

Coordination of Strategic Plan

The existence of an urban county CDBG program depends on intergovernmental cooperation since all of the various towns and cities must agree to join in the endeavor. The county has a cooperation agreement with each town and city in the urban county and works closely with those jurisdictions on all projects and housing endeavors.

In addition, the county works routinely with the State, especially with the Indiana Department of Commerce, on various economic development projects. It also works with the Indiana Department of Human Services to administer Section 8 vouchers and certificates. The county has developed good relationships with several nonprofit organizations, and works regularly with a number of for-profit institutions, such as banks and businesses, in economic development projects and a few rental rehabilitation projects.


Description of Key Projects

The following is a list of proposed activities the county plans to implement during the coming year:


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.

MAP 6 depicts Neighborhood Segments and proposed HUD funded projects.

MAP 7 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects within one of the four neighborhoods indicated in MAP 6.

MAP 8 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects within another of the four neighborhoods indicated in MAP 6.

MAP 9 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded project(s) from a street level vantage point; in addition, a table provides information about the project(s).

If you would like to comment on Lake County's Consolidated Plan, please contact:

Mr. Richard Hucker
Director of Community Development
Lake County Government Center
2293 North Main Street
Crown Point, IN 46307
219-736-5925 FAX

Return to Indiana's Consolidated Plans.