Partnerships help East Chicago's housing market bounce back

2012-12-23T00:00:00Z 2013-08-29T20:19:11Z Partnerships help East Chicago's housing market bounce backBy Anthony Copeland Mayor of East Chicago
December 23, 2012 12:00 am  • 

East Chicago, like many communities across Lake County, was hit hard when the real estate bubble burst. This caused our rate of homeownership to plummet.

As the number of owner-occupied single family houses dwindled, working families and retirees who were able to hold on to their homes put off critical maintenance and upkeep of their properties.

East Chicago’s rate of rental housing skyrocketed, causing us to become host to a large transient population, which created additional challenges for our schools and our police force.

In two short years, East Chicago has begun to turn its housing market around by removing barriers to homeownership.

Through our Redevelopment Commission, we are building additional new housing in Washington Square along Columbus Drive and completing new houses on Deodar Street. Even though we just began to build last month, the Washington Square development is already close to being sold out, such that we are looking forward to the next phases of development.

We are making an unprecedented commitment to rehabilitating existing housing stock and demolishing dilapidated structures. As a result, our existing neighborhoods will see an infusion of new life.

More than 25 new and existing homes have sold in East Chicago in the last six months, far outpacing the rate of recovery in the housing sector seen in most communities our size.

East Chicago has always embraced diversity, and toward that end, we have plans to increase the number of mixed-income housing opportunities. The next phases of development will feature attractive homes for working families of all income levels.

Partnerships are key to making things work in our city. Through a renewed commitment to improving single-family housing opportunities in our city, building partnerships and the diligent work required to bring projects to fruition, East Chicago is now creating a positive atmosphere for growth. We continue to build bridges to industry, and to work with other pillars of our community, such as the Foundations of East Chicago, to diversify our economy and build success.

In this way, we are helping an increasing a number of East Chicago residents realize the American dream of a stable home for their families in a welcoming and vibrant neighborhood.

Anthony Copeland is mayor of East Chicago. The opinion expressed in this column is the writer's and not necessarily that of The Times.

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