Construction began earlier this week in Brighton Park on the massive tents that will house at least some of the more than 1,000 migrants living in police stations across the city and at O’Hare Airport.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration cites “procurement delays” by Chicago as the reason for the shortfall, and says that the city in January will assume the responsibility of making sure migrants are fed, according to a news release.
Winter in Chicago can be brutal, and it can be even worse for those experiencing homelessness. A Latino Muslim organization is coming together to help those in need on the city’s Southwest Side.
“The imminent addition of significant new shelter space,” means the Amundsen Park field house is no longer needed as a migrant shelter, Mayor Brandon Johnson said.
Mayor Brandon Johnson touted what he called the “Unity Initiative” as his city officials announced that crews will start building the frame of a winterized base camp to shelter as many as 2,000 people near 38th Street and California Avenue as soon as Wednesday.
While the shelters will be a part of the city’s shelter system, state funds will be used to build the facilities, operate the shelter and provide services, including conflict resolution. There are now nearly 12,800 migrants in city-run shelters, an all-time high.
Across the country, mayors, governors and others have been forceful advocates for newly arrived migrants seeking shelter and work permits. Their efforts and existing laws have exposed tensions among immigrants who have been in the country for years, even decades, and don’t have the same benefits.
Ald. Julia Ramirez (12th Ward) said Mayor Brandon Johnson’s office informed her late Friday that work would begin Monday on the base camp over her objections and after the discovery of “toxic metals” on the site.
The new policy could mean more than 3,000 people will lose their beds in city shelters by early February, with the rest forced out by April.
With Congress unwilling to act, Illinois has no chance to step in because lives are at stake, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said.
The announcement represents Mayor Brandon Johnson’s first attempt to reduce the city resources available to the migrants currently in the city’s shelter system.
A key vote by the Chicago City Council’s Rules Committee could come as soon as Thursday on a measure that would ask voters during the March primary whether Chicago should remain a sanctuary city.
The Biden administration has started to grant temporary protected status to almost 500,000 Venezuelan migrants who are already in the country — quickly making them eligible to work. Meanwhile, advocates are pushing for work permits for more than 180,000 undocumented immigrants in Chicago who have been in the city much longer.
There are still more than 3,000 migrants living in or around Chicago’s police stations and airports. As the city struggles with how to find temporary shelter for everyone, Mayor Brandon Johnson has called on places of worship to assist.
Earlier this year, the Biden administration announced plans to expand health care coverage to those enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. But the proposed change has yet to be finalized, leaving thousands of young adults who were brought to the U.S. as children in limbo.
Approximately 1,500 men, women and children are sleeping in thin tents outside police stations across the city, officials said.