Abrams Environmental Law Clinic Co-Authors Report on Toxic Sites Close to Public Housing

Most U.S. Hazardous Waste Sites in Close Proximity to Federally Funded Housing

An estimated 77,000 people who live in federally assisted housing across the United States are at risk of being poisoned by dangerous toxic contamination and the federal government has been aware of this hazard for years but taken no action, according to a new report released today by the Shriver Center on Poverty Law, Earthjustice, and faculty at the University of Chicago’s Abrams Environmental Law Clinic and Columbia University’s Health Justice Advocacy Clinic.  

The report finds that decades of environmental racism have systematically put residents of federally assisted housing in direct proximity to these toxins. Many of these residents are Black and Brown and their housing was placed in harm’s way due to the historic discriminatory housing policies of the federal government. Despite the risks, the federal government is still moving people into housing that is potentially hazardous, without notification to the residents, and continues to invest redevelopment dollars into these sites. 

Poisonous Homes: The Fight for Environmental Justice in Federally Assisted Housing comes as the Trump Administration has proposed to rollback regulations governing the National Environmental Policy Act that will curtail environmental impact analysis of major projects and eliminate opportunities for community input. Poisonous Homes looks at examples of federally assisted housing developments located within or in close proximity to Superfund sites, as well as important stories of community activism in the face of that reality. These include case studies from East Chicago, Indiana; Carteret, New Jersey; Evansville, Indiana; Iola, Kansas; Omaha, Nebraska; Pueblo, Colorado and Portsmouth, Virginia. A full copy of the report is available at povertylaw.org/poisonoushomes.  

Read more at Shriver Center on Poverty Law