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Afternoon roundup

Monday, Nov 27, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release…

Advancing a data-driven plan to improve the asylum seeker response and provide safe shelter through the winter, Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) announced construction will launch this week on two new shelter sites. The sites, a base camp in Brighton Park and a brick-and-mortar site in Little Village, will house up to 2,200 asylum seekers in total. The locations of the shelters were identified by the City of Chicago and both shelters will operate as part of the existing City of Chicago shelter system. Work to construct and operate the shelters is being funded by the State through Governor Pritzker’s recently announced $160 million investment to improve the asylum seeker pipeline as well as the $478 million in State funding that has been provided or committed to the asylum seeker response over state fiscal year 2023 and 2024.

In partnership with the City of Chicago, available beds will be prioritized for families and individuals with disabilities who are currently sleeping outdoors, at police stations and at O’Hare airport. While construction on both locations will begin this week, asylum seekers will not move into the Brighton Park location until all environmental concerns have been addressed. Pending this work, the shelter sites are expected to open and begin housing asylum seekers as early as mid-December. [..]

Both sites will offer warm sleeping spaces as well as meals, hygiene facilities, and wraparound services to allow asylum seekers, particularly those eligible for temporary protected status, to gain work permits and achieve self-sufficiency, thereby alleviating the strain on State and City resources. Construction, shelter operations and wraparound services will be funded by the State.

The two sites will operate as a part of the existing City of Chicago shelter system with New Life Centers of Chicagoland contracted by the State to provide on the ground support, including quality assurance and community-care services, like conflict resolution, onsite communications, community engagement, and connection with local resources. […]

“New Life looks forward to being a continued partner with the City and State in welcoming new arrivals,” said Matt DeMateo, Executive Director, New Life Centers. “The two locations will provide warm shelter and support for our new neighbors as they begin their lives in this country.”

In addition to a $65 million investment in these new shelter sites, the State is also making targeted, data-driven investments on the front and back end of the asylum seeker pipeline, to alleviate bottlenecks. Those investments are as follows:

WELCOME: $30 million to stand up a large intake center and deploy a welcome team to better support those coming to Chicago who are seeking another final destination, or who have sponsors in Illinois and don’t require shelter. With this approach, data indicates the number of new arrivals requiring shelter can be reduced by 10%.

INDEPENDENCE: $65 million in increased funding to expand the wraparound services the State currently provides at City shelters which enable new arrivals to live independently as they await asylum hearings, including case management, housing assistance, legal services, work permit processing, and workforce development support. The State will continue to provide the rental assistance that allows asylum seekers to transition from shelters to independent living.

* Press release…

Drivers with autism or other communication disabilities can now have better experiences during routine traffic stops, thanks to State Senator Julie Morrison.

“A routine traffic stop sparks anxiety for anyone – now imagine you are a driver who has autism or another medical condition that makes processing social cues and responding to commands difficult,” said Morrison (D-Lake Forest). “That can quickly lead to a stressful situation for both the driver and the police officer. It’s why it was so pertinent we ensured people can effectively communicate their medical conditions.”

Drivers now have the ability to easily disclose a medical condition or disability that could impede effective communication with a police officer. People can visit the Illinois Secretary of State’s website to access a form to disclose their health condition. The information will then be printed on the person’s vehicle registration associated with their license plate and be put in the Law Enforcement Agencies Data System.

The form – which will improve interactions with law enforcement to prevent the potential for unnecessary or unintentional escalation – comes after Morrison successfully passed House Bill 4825 last year.

“If a police officer pulls someone over and that person isn’t making eye contact or engaging in conversation, the officer may think the driver is being defiant,” said Morrison. “The reality, however, is that not every person communicates in the same manner. By designating a condition that impairs speech on one’s registration, a traffic stop will be a less stressful situation for all involved.”

Morrison worked closely with a former local high school student – who is now in college – whose twin brother is on the autism spectrum and was worried what would happen if he was pulled over and avoided eye contact. Together, they successfully put forth the legislation to enhance inclusivity by ensuring certain behaviors – such as avoiding eye contact – aren’t misinterpreted by police.

“People with autism have to deal with the ‘everybody’ stress of a traffic stop but layered in with the need to actively process the hum of the road, the flashing of the lights, the whine of a siren as well as directions from the close-talking stranger who just caught them making a mistake,” said Henry Lytle, who worked closely with Morrison on the legislation. “House Bill 4825 makes traffic stops safer for my brother and other drivers with communication challenges.”

For more information on the certification for impaired communication with a peace officer disclosure, people can call the Illinois Secretary of State’s office at 1-800-252-8980.

* Two things you don’t see every day. 1) Southern Illinois business owner touts his state…

2) A campaign fundraiser at a funeral home…

* Isabel returns Wednesday…

    * Daily Herald | What caused CTA train crash? Braking glitches, ‘communications meltdown’ questioned: However, University of Illinois at Chicago Urban Transportation Center Director P.S. Sriraj says he’s most worried about a “a classic communications meltdown.” “The snowplow was on the same track as the train. That is the more important thing that could have been avoided. The operator definitely was not expecting something else on the track at that time,” said Sriraj, a civil engineering professor. “Any time you have a live track, you don’t put anything else on that track. So there was a slip-up somewhere in communications. Maybe the track got changed for that particular train just before its departure. My main question is how did this incident get triggered?” Sriraj asked. Safety expert John Plante is curious about the circumstances surrounding the snow removal equipment. “Why was it there? Why was it stopped — was it waiting for signal clearance?” wondered Plante, a former CTA attorney and Metra board member.

    * WICS | Illinois Gov. Pritzker addresses homelessness in remarks to organization: Pritzker said it’s unacceptable that on a given night, tens of thousands of Illinoisans have to stay at shelters or abandoned buildings. He highlighted that Illinois has invested $350 million to support homelessness prevention and housing programs.

    * Tribune | With less than 6 weeks before deadline, 3,400 gun owners have registered guns covered by state ban: While the degree of compliance is impossible to determine, the number of people who had registered through Nov. 21 represented just 0.1% of the 2.4 million people holding Illinois firearm owner’s identification cards, the state-mandated permits that authorize residents to own guns. FOID card holders could also own guns not covered by the ban, or may not have any guns at all. The registration requirement for prohibited weapons that were owned before the ban’s Jan. 10, 2023, effective date was one of the most controversial aspects of the law, which gun rights advocates so far have failed to overturn through state and federal lawsuits.

    * Tribune | The siblings of children killed by gun violence and how they cope: ‘I just feel alone’: People experiencing traumatic grief may become hypervigilant or feel constantly unsafe, she said. They may also try to avoid feeling their emotions, experience intrusive thoughts such as nightmares or flashbacks or begin to think about the world in a different way. Mental health care can be an important way for young people who have lost siblings to understand their grief and continue their lives, Raviv said. But just 1 in 5 young people who need mental health care have access to the services they need.

    * Sun-Times | CHA mounts $50 million program to fix up scattered sites: “It’s an aggressive target,” said the agency’s CEO, Tracey Scott. That’s probably an understatement as financing, supply issues and permits all can produce delays. But she said the CHA has analyzed the vacant parcels, worked up plans and found the funding. Staff and contractors, many working under a federal program to steer job opportunities to those getting housing help, will be “laser focused” on the mission, Scott said. She said the CHA is in close contact with the city’s Buildings Department to smooth the permit process.

    * Daily Herald | Casten, Quigley, Ramirez among early congressional filers for 2024: In the 6th District, Democratic U.S. Rep. Sean Casten of Downers Grove is seeking a fourth term. He’s being challenged once again by Chicago Democrat Charles Hughes in the primary. Casten defeated Hughes and then-U. S. Rep. Marie Newman of La Grange in last year’s primary before besting Orland Park Republican Keith Pekau in the 2022 general election. On the other side of the political aisle, Niki Conforti of Glen Ellyn is back for another shot at the GOP nomination in the 6th. She lost to Pekau in the 2022 primary.

    * Crain’s | Chicago performing arts struggle to win back audiences: Most of the performing arts in Chicago are housed in nonprofit organizations that depend on the generosity of individual donors, corporations and foundations. Yet in the pandemic years following the murder of George Floyd, companies shifted dollars to social justice causes, arts executives say. Others have focused on the environment and sustainability. The money coming in isn’t keeping pace with inflation.

    * SJ-R | Thousands of campaign buttons: Inside Springfield local’s political memorabilia collection: Over the last 48 years, Gordon Wayman has assembled a political memorabilia collection spanning countless autographs, presidential PEZ dispensers and more than 3,000 campaign buttons.

    * NBC 5 | Rolling Stones pre-sale tickets for 2024 tour start this week: Fans looking to score tickets can gain access to a special ticket release, which begins Nov. 29. Those who provide their information here before 11 a.m. CT on Nov. 28 will receive an exclusive “pre-sale code” and a ticket link by noon on the same day. Pre-sale ticket sales begin at 12 p.m. CT and continue through 10 p.m. CT on Nov. 30.


  1. - DisappointedVoter - Monday, Nov 27, 23 @ 1:47 pm:

    Thank god for the governor. I understand why he waited to step in. Hope the mayor steps it up and uses it as an opportunity to learn.

  2. - Demoralized - Monday, Nov 27, 23 @ 1:48 pm:

    Well, I suppose if the narrative that dead people in Chicago vote is true then what better place to have a fundraiser.

  3. - What's in a name? - Monday, Nov 27, 23 @ 2:29 pm:

    Dean people may vote but they have never been known as frequent donors.

  4. - What's in a name? - Monday, Nov 27, 23 @ 2:30 pm:

    Dead, not dean. Sorry

  5. - Thomas Paine - Monday, Nov 27, 23 @ 2:31 pm:

    “Come to my campaign fundraiser… at a funeral parlor”

    Business at the parlor must be dead.

  6. - Donnie Elgin - Monday, Nov 27, 23 @ 2:51 pm:

    “0.1% of the 2.4 million people holding Illinois firearm owner’s identification cards”

    The Trib story touts a meaningless stat. I have dozens of range frieds all with FOID cards and only a few have a weapon/device that requires filling out the affidavit

  7. - Lucky Pierre - Monday, Nov 27, 23 @ 3:02 pm:

    Thank God for the Governor?

    It’s 25 degrees today and they are finally addressing the fact that 1,600 migrants have been sleeping in police station lobbies and outdoors for months

    Where has he been for the past 6 months

  8. - Frida's boss - Monday, Nov 27, 23 @ 3:29 pm:

    Did something happen in KY that made them the non-savings side of the river? It looks like an auto dealer in the commercial.

    KY sales tax is 6% Illinois is 6.25%
    KY income tax is flat at 4.5% Illinois income tax is flat at 4.95%
    KY auto sales tax rate is 6% Illinois auto sales tax rate is 7.3%

    So I wondered what he was referring to.

  9. - Pundent - Monday, Nov 27, 23 @ 4:21 pm:

    =Thank God for the Governor?=

    Yes, we’ve seen the alternative.

  10. - Dotnonymous x - Monday, Nov 27, 23 @ 4:36 pm:

    Starting at the funeral parlor does not bode well for the ending.

  11. - JS Mill - Monday, Nov 27, 23 @ 4:36 pm:

    =Where has he been for the past 6 months=

    Since you asked…

    1) Brining new innovative businesses to Illinois
    2) Adding more funds to the rainy day fund
    3) Paying down Illinois pension debt
    4) Gaining multiple ratings improvements to Illinois credit rating improvements

    You know, successful governor stuff.

  12. - Lucky Pierre - Monday, Nov 27, 23 @ 4:54 pm:

    You left off the part about ignoring the migrant crisis while virtue signaling that no one is illegal in this country

    Then after he realizes the situation is untenable he does a 180 and says last month:

    “Shortly after our letter went to the White House, a determination was made to expand the return of refugees who do not qualify for refugee status,” Pritzker said. “If they don’t meet the requirements for someone who can stay, we’re making sure, the federal government anyway, is making sure that those folks are returned.”

    Since only a small percentage actually will qualify for asylum eventually the deportation police will be working overtime for years because of the irresponsible way the border was handled the past few years by this administration

  13. - Rich Miller - Monday, Nov 27, 23 @ 5:01 pm:

    ===ignoring the migrant crisis===


    Yeah. Go with that.


  14. - Demoralized - Monday, Nov 27, 23 @ 5:02 pm:

    ==that no one is illegal in this country==

    Who said that? Another dishonest point.

    ==by this administration==

    This is a federal issue. So if you mean the federal government, then yeah. You’re attempting to somehow throw the Governor in the mix here.

    Dishonesty, dishonesty, dishonesty.

  15. - We've never had one before - Tuesday, Nov 28, 23 @ 1:56 am:

    >>>I have dozens of range frieds all with FOID cards and only a few have a weapon/device that requires filling out the affidavit

    or will admit to having them…

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* Isabel’s afternoon roundup
* Despite reported shortage, state claims city has not requested diapers for migrant babies since October
* IVF debate takes a weird political turn
* ComEd Four sentencing will be delayed
* It’s just a bill
* Open thread
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Isabel’s morning briefing
* Live coverage
* Yesterday's stories

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