Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x1 *** State’s November plan to reduce ‘bottlenecks’ in migrant shelter/resettlement appears to be making real progress
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*** UPDATED x1 *** State’s November plan to reduce ‘bottlenecks’ in migrant shelter/resettlement appears to be making real progress

Tuesday, Feb 20, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* November 16, 2023 press release

Governor JB Pritzker announced today that the State will invest an additional $160 million via the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis presented by the arrival of over 24,000 asylum seekers from the U.S. Southern Border.

The State, alongside our local partners, has led a comprehensive data driven analysis of the ongoing asylum seeker response, rooted in not only data but also input from frontline partners and new arrivals, which identified several “bottlenecks” where services and resettlement tended to slow. These bottlenecks included delays in initial intake at landing sites, access to shelter, and the transition to independent living. This has led to backlogs and capacity issues, most visible in individuals sleeping outside police stations, but more broadly across the process.

That same day, Chicago reported that it was sheltering 12,174 asylum-seekers and another 2,197 were awaiting placement, for a total of 14,371. The city also reported 7,402 people had so far been “resettled,” while 2,694 had been “reunited with sponsors.”

The city dashboard data goes back to October 28, but resettlement wasn’t even being tracked at that time.

So, what’s happened to the numbers since then?

* On December 27th, Chicago was sheltering 14,450 asylum-seekers and had another 284 awaiting placement, for a total of 14,734. The waiting list had fallen by 87 percent since November 16.

The city also reported that day that 9,803 people had so far been resettled, while 3,371 had been reunited with sponsors. That represented a 30 percent increase over the November 16 numbers.

* On January 5th, Chicago was sheltering 14,703 asylum-seekers and had another 408 awaiting placement, for a total of 15,111. By that date, 10,708 people had been resettled and 3,352 were reunited with sponsors.

* Today, the city reports its shelters contained 12,478 people with 16 awaiting placement, for a total of 12,494.

More importantly, perhaps, is that a total of 12,478 people have been resettled and 4,659 have been reunited with sponsors. That’s a 70 percent increase since November 16.

They still have a ways to go, but the needles all appear to be moving in the right direction - until Texas decides to fully open up the human cargo spigots again. The November funding announcement also included “$65 million to help the City of Chicago launch a winterized soft shelter site providing temporary housing for up to 2,000 people at any given time for six months.” We may see that return come spring.

*** UPDATE *** Sun-Times

The city has closed four migrant shelters in the past week and a half as the number of migrants arriving in the city continues to slow.

The shelters were located in the Loop, North Lawndale, Lake View and North Park and at their busiest held around 400 people in total. The biggest was the North Park Village Nature Center shelter center, which the city closed to be used as a polling place, according to a city statement.

The city did not immediately respond to requests for comment on whether any of the other shelters would reopen. Two of the shelters Harold Washington Library and the New Life Community Church in Lake View – have closed before and reopened.

Rev. Chad Bacon imagined the church would reopen if the city were to “get a bunch of buses leading up to the DNC.”

* Meanwhile…

To provide enhanced transparency into state spending, Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza has opened a portal on the IOC’s website to display expenditures related to the influx of asylum seekers into Illinois.

“While the state is incurring expenses that, frankly, should be paid by the federal government, I want to make sure that taxpayers know exactly what the state is spending money on when it comes to the arrival and care of asylum seekers,” Comptroller Mendoza said.

The new portal can be found here:

* More…

    * NBC 5 | Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle addresses migrant funding: “The governor and the mayor and I met and we looked at the challenge ahead and decided on a way in which we could move forward.”

    * ABC 7 | Mayor Johnson backs out of commitment to $250M joint city, county, state migrant care package: “No one in the state of Illinois this country is questioning there. Brandon Johnson is committed to this mission,” Johnson said. But now, some are. “I really want to believe that there is nobody more committed to this mission than Mayor Brandon Johnson. But of course, the money is really where that rubber hits the road,” [migrant care volunteer Annie Gomberg] said.

    * Judith Crown at Crain’s | Chicago’s migrant crisis raises questions of equity: The migrant crisis has brought to light inequality in the way immigrants are treated. Members of the city’s undocumented Latino community like Garcia are angry when they see newly arrived immigrants from Venezuela able to obtain work permits, which gives them access to better-paying jobs. Other communities are infuriated, too, pointing out that public funding to shelter and feed migrants is money that might otherwise be used to further address the city’s daunting social problems, such as homelessness, mental illness and poverty. How is it that new arrivals are assigned to city shelters while there are tent camps in Humboldt Park and Columbus Park and along the Eisenhower Expressway?

    * Judith Crown at Crain’s | Migrant crisis stirs tension in Oak Park, but village mounts a supportive response: At its Jan. 23 meeting, Oak Park trustees authorized staff to pursue a grant of $1.9 million through the Illinois Department of Human Services and the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus. The village received notice the following week that grant was approved. The funding will be used to provide aid to asylum-seekers through June 30. That will enable the village to continue helping migrants in a different shelter because asylum-seekers staying at the Carleton and West Cook YMCA must leave by the end of February.

    * MSNBC | A Chicago professor and her students are helping migrants seeking asylum: DePaul professor Kathleen Arnold is leading a group of students in helping case workers and lawyers representing migrants with asylum applications. Together, they complete what are called “country condition reports,” which help lawyers prove that there is widespread persecution in the countries migrants are fleeing.


  1. - Forever Winter - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 1:27 pm:

    Everyone say “Thank you Governor Pritzker.”

  2. - Vote Quimby - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 2:04 pm:

    About those bus trips… if this is truly an “invasion,” then isn’t Gov. Abbott an enemy agent by transporting the invaders further into the country?

  3. - Chicago Voter - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 2:38 pm:

    == $65 million to help the City of Chicago launch a winterized soft shelter site providing temporary housing for up to 2,000 people at any given time for six months.” We may see that return come spring ==

    Why would Chicago still consider a GardaWorld tent?

  4. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 2:39 pm:

    ===Why would Chicago still consider a GardaWorld tent? ===

    In case Gregg opens the floodgates ahead of the convention.

  5. - Chicago Voter - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 2:46 pm:

    == In case Gregg opens the floodgates ahead of convention ==

    Once Chicago builds a tent, it can’t undo that decision. Conditions would predictably be poor in a military contracted grade tent seemingly playing into a right-wing rhetorical trap along with knowable rights violations that press and activists will surely document.

    Chicago can make better plans and it should.

  6. - Anon - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 3:01 pm:

    Wat does resettlement mean?

  7. - NIU Grad - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 3:56 pm:

    Is it just me, or does the Comptroller portal on this very specific topic seem a little…antagonistic?

  8. - Three Dimensional Checker - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 4:21 pm:

    The City lied to the public about the death of a 5-year old child. The less any of them are involved, the better.

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