Indiana: Gary CARE Partnership Project (A Former EPA CARE Project)

The summary and links below provide a description and documentation of a Gary, Indiana project that received a Level I cooperative agreement from EPA’s former Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) project in 2007 and a Level II CARE cooperative agreement in 2010. These case studies serve as historic references, and conditions since the project was funded may have changed.

The resources developed for this project provide communities with information about ways that other communities have addressed environmental issues. Communities can use these project results to reduce environmental impacts, understand risks and become stewards of their own environment.


City of Gary (2007)
Gary, Indiana
EPA Region 5

The Gary Project, located within Gary, Indiana’s Department of Environmental Affairs, is the recipient of a Level I CARE cooperative agreement. The mission of the department is to achieve and maintain a clean and healthy environment for Gary’s citizens.   

Located on the southern-most shores of Lake Michigan, Gary is the 5th largest city in Indiana and the largest city in Lake County with a population of approximately 98,715.  Gary’s population is 84 percent African American with more than 45 percent of children living below poverty levels.  More than 80 percent of Gary children under the age of 18 live in high-risk poverty neighborhoods.  Historic and ongoing pollution ranks Gary among U.S. cities with high toxic releases and associated health risks.  Environmental concerns include contaminated lands, abandoned industrial buildings and houses, as well as older housing with asbestos and lead paint. The city also suffers from indoor and outdoor mobile and stationary source air pollution, including diesel emissions and traffic from major interstate highways, and toxics in sediments.

The Gary Project will use the CARE grant to work through the Protocol for Assessing Community Excellence in Environmental Health (PACE EH) process.  PACE EH is an assessment tool utilized by communities to identify and assess environmental health issues and concerns.   The project will use PACE EH tools to build a collaborative local partnership focused on developing a community-based plan for improving the environment and public health in the city.  Along with the commitment from state and local representatives, community members and business leaders the project will work over a two-year period with qualified technical and facilitation consultants to compile, review and prioritize Gary’s cumulative environmental and toxic risks in relation to public health impacts. 

Prospective CARE Partners:   U.S. Steel Gary Works; Weed and Seed Organization; Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM); City of Gary Health and Human Services; Gary Community Health Center; Groundwork Gary, Inc.; Indiana University Northwest; Indiana Toxics Action Project; United Water Services. Gary 1st Foundation; Race Relations Council; Froebel Community Council; Central District Organization; Save the Dune Conservation Fund; Youth Leaders In Action; Camp Dresser & McKee, Inc; and Maternal Child Health Network of Lake County.

Gary CARE Partnership Project (2010)
Gary, Indiana 
EPA Region 5

The Gary CARE Partnership project is the recipient of a Level II CARE cooperative agreement. The City of Gary CARE Partnership is a collaborative partnership made up of local community organizations, industry, business, university, faith-based, youth, and government representatives initially organized under an EPA CARE level I grant project. The mission of the Gary CARE Partnership is to engage in a collaborative, community-based process to identify and prioritize risks and to create an action plan to address environmental health issues that affect health, quality of life, and sustainable economic development. The Gary CARE Partnership project will employ a comprehensive multimedia Healthy Homes approach to reduce toxic threats in high-risk Gary homes and neighborhoods and build local capacity for environmental action. With a focus on reducing the threats of lead, mold and hazardous household products the CARE Partnership will train nurses and graduates of the City of Gary Brownfield’s Job Training Program to work in teams to conduct “Healthy Homes Assessments” in up to 200 high-risk homes. Smoking, second and third hand smoke, outdoor air pollution, abandoned buildings and vacant lots, vehicular air pollution, illegal dumping, asthma, and surface water protection are other prioritized issues of concern for the Gary CARE Partnership that will be addressed and implemented through of this level II project to achieve multi-media improvement and risk reductions.   

Established CARE Partners: Camp, Dresser & McKee, Inc., Indiana American Water, United Water Suez, U.S. Steel, Indiana University NW, Maternal and Child Health Network, Motivating Women Ministry, Northwest Indiana Federation, Solomon’s Kingdom CDC, Gary Common Council, Gary Community Development, Gary Dept. of Environmental Affairs, Gary Health Dept., IN Dept. of Environmental Management, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Lake County Solid, Waste Management District, Froebel Community Health Foundation, Groundwork Gary, Inc., Inst. of Cultural & Environmental Understanding, Lake County Minority Tobacco Coalition, Miller Citizens Corporation, Resident Owned Business Initiative, Inc., Youth Leaders in Action.

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