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City lays out its new migrant plan

Friday, Nov 17, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From the City of Chicago…

First, in partnership with the State of Illinois, the City is increasing personnel at the landing zone to help new arrivals reunite with their friends, family or verified sponsors. For many new arrivals, Chicago is not the final destination. By aiding new arrivals at the point of arrival, the City can save space in the shelter system for those individuals and families who plan to stay in Chicago.

Second, the City is regulating “rogue buses” which cause unnecessary logistical obstacles for intake and put the lives of new arrivals in danger – particularly as the temperatures drop. New regulatory tools will allow the City to cite and fine bus companies that disregard curfews, landing zone locations and loading/unloading protocols.

The bus companies are making so much money off those trips that they may not care about tickets, but we’ll see.

* The city explains its new 60-day exit notice policy for shelters…

Finally, the City will implement a limited stay policy along with additional supports from the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS). For individuals and families currently in City shelters, the City will be issuing 60-day exit notices in waves based on their arrival date to shelter.

    • New arrivals who entered shelter in 2022 will receive a 60-day notice beginning 11/17/2023 [today]. Approximately 50 people will receive notices in this group.

    • New arrivals who entered shelter between 1/1/2023 - 7/31/2023 will begin receiving 60-day notices on 12/4/2023. Approximately 3,000 people currently in shelter arrived in this timeframe.

    • New arrivals who entered shelter between 7/31/2023 - 11/16/2023 will begin receiving 60-day notices on 2/1/2024. Approximately 8,800 people currently in shelter arrived in this timeframe.

    • All new arrivals to shelter on or after 11/17/2023 will receive a 60-day notice upon intake.

* From the FAQ…

Will residents be eligible for an extension if they have not made other arrangements by the end of their 60-day stay?

    • Under extenuating circumstances individuals may be granted temporary extensions. This includes medical crises or extreme cold weather.
    • Individuals with a signed lease with a move-in date after the end of their 60-day period may receive an extension until their move-in date.

If individuals are not eligible for an extension, what happens if someone doesn’t have somewhere to go at the end of their 60-day stay?

    If other arrangements have not been made and the resident is not eligible for an extension at the end of their 60-day stay, they may return to the landing zone and request a new shelter placement.

If someone is in the housing process, are they eligible for an extension?

    Residents should make every effort to apply for rental assistance during their 60-day period. In order to apply for rental assistance, a lease must be secured. If a lease is secured and the rental assistance application has been submitted prior to the end of their 60-day stay, an extension may be granted through their move-in date (i.e., start of the lease, including utilities being established).

What type of help will new arrivals receive to support their resettlement?

Rental assistance

    • Our goal is to leverage all resources to assist with resettlement efforts.
    • Rental assistance may be available to eligible households:

      o Shelter residents who arrived to shelter on or prior to November 16, 2023, will maintain eligibility to apply for rental assistance.
      o Shelter residents who arrived to shelter on or after November 17, 2023, will not be eligible for rental assistance.

    • All new arrivals will remain eligible for the following resources: IDHS public benefits via Victims of Trafficking, Torture, or other serious Crimes (VTTC), a health home via Cook County Health, assistance with school enrollment at Chicago Public Schools, and other resources and supports available through the Illinois Welcoming Center network:

* Kirstin Chernawsky, the Associate Secretary of Early Childhood, Family & Community at the Department of Human Services, explained the new, shortened rental assistance program yesterday

The Asylum Seeker Emergency Rental Assistance Program, previously was a three-month with the option to renew for an additional three months for up to a total of six months. In shortening it to three months, there’s two main priorities.

The first is that we currently have enough funds left in that program to reach everyone that is currently in shelter. So the folks that are in shelter that have been demonstrating that they are working towards finding independent housing will have access to that program.

This allows us to tell all new arrivals, there is no more emergency rental assistance available, so that folks who are choosing to come to Chicago understand what it is that they are coming into.

For the individuals that will be going from the up to six months to the up to three months, they will continue to have a variety of wraparound supports available to them while they are living in independent housing that will allow them to maintain that housing. Through case management, through the Illinois coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights, through the ongoing Illinois welcoming center program through partnerships they’re making with New Life and the supplies New Life is providing them so that they are set up to succeed in that independent housing.

We feel that this shift from six to three months will still allow folks to continue along their journeys to independence.

Chernawsky said the new program starts today. The clock starts ticking when migrants arrive in shelters. So, if they’re at O’Hare, that doesn’t count toward the three months.

* Matt DeMateo, the CEO of New Life Centers, spoke at yesterday’s Pritzker press conference announcing the state’s new migrant initiative. New Life Centers, he said, has helped resettle 1,500 families (5,400 individuals) since May of this year

I’m hopeful for the future because the systems we are building now will create the pathways to care for all of the unhoused in Chicago. Let me say that again. I’m hopeful for the future because the systems we are building now will create the pathways to care for all of the unhoused in Chicago. It’s not either/or. It’s both/and. And not just a token statement, but truly building the systems of care that will change our city going forward to build a strong safety net for our city’s most vulnerable populations and strengthen the partnership with government resources and community based leadership.

Sounds good, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

* More from Isabel…


  1. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Nov 17, 23 @ 9:53 am:

    === The bus companies are making so much money off those trips that they may not care about tickets, but we’ll see. ===

    If the buses get impounded / towed / booted, they’ll care.

  2. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Friday, Nov 17, 23 @ 9:55 am:

    It’s like Jesus said. “Continue on your journey somewhere else.”

  3. - Rich Miller - Friday, Nov 17, 23 @ 9:55 am:

    ===impounded / towed / booted, they’ll care===

    Agreed. But it just says ticketed.

  4. - Here We Go Again - Friday, Nov 17, 23 @ 9:58 am:

    It is great to finally see a plan from the mayor. Ronnie and company missed an opportunity to regain leadership over this crisis, however. The decision to announce this through a release rather than a full on presser is a major communications failure. One step forward and two steps back from the press shop. Time to take notes from JBP on how you display leadership.

  5. - sure - Friday, Nov 17, 23 @ 10:25 am:

    Here We Go Again, it’s time to take note from JB’s comms shop.

  6. - Charles Edward Cheese - Friday, Nov 17, 23 @ 10:35 am:

    ===impounded / towed / booted, they’ll care===

    ===Agreed. But it just says ticketed.===

    Assuming these bus companies are repeat offenders is there any existing avenue for booting/impounding the buses if they rack up multiple successive citations or fines?

  7. - Pundent - Friday, Nov 17, 23 @ 10:35 am:

    Mayor Johnson has an aversion to press conferences. Not a good sign. The last elected official that I saw exhibiting this behavior took to hiding in bathrooms to avoid answering questions.

  8. - Arsenal - Friday, Nov 17, 23 @ 10:39 am:

    I’m too superficial to comment on the substance of this plan, but I’ll say it’s very interesting that Johnson is holding the stick while JB has the carrots. Works out pretty well for the Gov.

  9. - Pundent - Friday, Nov 17, 23 @ 10:46 am:

    Beyond ticketing it might be worth making a call to the USDOT regarding these buses. Are they laying over anywhere on their trip from Texas or using more than 1 driver? It’s a 17 hour run from San Antonio and a single driver could do no more than 15 hours without a 10 hour break.

  10. - Demoralized - Friday, Nov 17, 23 @ 11:19 am:


    If the federal government was going to do anything as far as stopping the transport of these individuals they would have done it by now. And they don’t have to worry about any states along the drive because they are all run by conservative Republicans who aren’t going to stand in the way of the political games being played by Texas.

  11. - Roman - Friday, Nov 17, 23 @ 11:27 am:

    == Mayor Johnson has an aversion to press conferences. ==

    It’s a dramatic departure from the last three mayors, each of whom got out of bed every morning determined to control the media narrative that day.

    It’s not necessarily a bad thing. Kwame Raoul has considerably toned down the flashy headline-grabbing of previous AG’s and run a quietly competent office. Problem is, we’re not seeing a lot of competence at City Hall. So my fear is the lack of media interaction, like the slow pace of hiring key staff, is a sign of a mayor who just isn’t very enthused about doing his job.

  12. - It's always Sunny in Illinois - Friday, Nov 17, 23 @ 11:50 am:

    Exactly what law are they going to use to ticket the Bus Companies for bussing people and dropping them off….?

  13. - Lurker - Friday, Nov 17, 23 @ 11:54 am:

    How does education work for the school-aged children?

  14. - Frida's boss - Friday, Nov 17, 23 @ 2:10 pm:

    So how does it work to find new housing after the 60 days in a shelter and 90 days in temp housing with rental assistance if they still can’t get work permits? How are they going tp pay rent without jobs? Are they going to get them Section 8 vouchers?

  15. - Rich Miller - Friday, Nov 17, 23 @ 3:18 pm:

    Frida’s boss:

  16. - Central Illinois Centrist - Monday, Nov 20, 23 @ 7:47 am:

    Is there a link to the plan itself?

  17. - Rich Miller - Monday, Nov 20, 23 @ 7:55 am:

    ===Is there a link===

    You have most everything I have.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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