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Despite reported shortage, state claims city has not requested diapers for migrant babies since October

Thursday, Feb 29, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Isabel posted this Tribune story earlier today

Migrant families are reporting a shortage of diapers in the city’s shelters, forcing some parents to reuse dirty diapers on their babies, according to migrants and a network of volunteers working closely with those living in shelters. […]

Hygiene products, including diapers and toilet paper, are provided by the city’s emergency operations center’s logistics section, which was created to coordinate and allocate resources for migrants. The city receives supplies from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and outside vendors.

Mary May, a spokesperson for the city, acknowledged that “supply shortages from IEMA and FEMA can result in temporary shortages of some supplies” for migrants, but said in the statement last Friday that officials had “received a large delivery of supplies” that included diapers to deliver to shelters.

“Shelter staff can only distribute what they have in supply. If inventory levels of certain items get low, emergency deliveries of the items are made,” May said.

I followed up with IEMA this afternoon…

IEMA-OHS received the city’s one and only request for diapers in October and provided 64,000 diapers the next day. Earlier this week IEMA-OHS received a request for additional supplies from the city, which did not include diapers, but IEMA-OHS provided another 600 diapers that had been donated.

IEMA-OHS is unclear on what OEMC is referring to in its attempts to blame shortages on IEMA-OHS, but given that it is the city of Chicago that is responsible for providing diapers in city of Chicago shelters, further questions should be directed there.

I’ve been paraphrasing a song line from the late, great Albert King recently whenever anyone has asked me about city government: “If it wasn’t for incompetence, they wouldn’t have no competence at all.” Not completely true, of course, but the line does go over well.

* Meanwhile, as of yesterday morning, 12,189 migrants were in Chicago shelters, that’s 18 percent below the 14,900 in shelters in late December.

Also, between last Tuesday, February 20th, and yesterday, February 28th, 1,320 additional asylum seekers have been resettled, for a total of 13,798. And another 234 have been reunited with sponsors, for a total of 4,893. The state launched an effort a few months ago to reduce shelter and resettlement bottlenecks.

* Migrant rumors circulated wildly on social media, so a local news media outlet checked into the rumors but found them to be bogus and didn’t run a story. The rumors then persisted to the point where the local mayor had to hold a press conference, which was then covered

Jacksonville officials are trying to be kill social media buzz claiming immigrants are being bused to buildings on the former campus of MacMurray College.

Rumors about the buses have been so prevalent on social media that Mayor Andy Ezard asked Phil McCarty, director of Jacksonville-Morgan County Emergency Management, to speak on the subject at Monday’s City Council meeting. […]

The Journal-Courier first received reports about immigrant buses in town in early February, but determined there was no validity to them.

“There has been a lot of social media push, which is not always the appropriate place to get the news. The news is over here,” said McCarty, gesturing to the table where members of the media sit to cover council meetings. “It’s also available from the official city Facebook page.”

* From Isabel…

    * Tribune | Migrants report reusing soiled diapers on babies amid essential goods shortages in Chicago shelters: Volunteers say it is not clear who rations diapers and toilet paper if shelters experience a shortage. The city did not respond to a question about who is in charge of rationing the supplies.

    * News Nation | Sanctuary city migrants facing spring evictions live in ‘limbo’: Leonardo Pérez Suárez and his wife Wendy arrived in Chicago on New Year’s Day after a months-long journey from Cuba. But in a city where Mayor Brandon Johnson plans to evict newcomers from the city’s temporary housing centers beginning in mid-March, they’re living on borrowed time. The couple’s baby was born less than a month ago at the American Islamic College — one of Chicago’s 28 city-run shelters. With less than three weeks before the city’s eviction deadline, the Pérez-Suárez family lives with more questions than answers.

    * Bloomberg | This Is Where New Migrants Are Going When They Reach the US: The data also suggest that New York state saw the highest number of migrant arrivals in 2023 on a per capita basis: 1 per 100 residents of the state. New Jersey and Florida were next at 0.9. Texas and Colorado had 0.8, and Illinois ranked eighth at 0.6.

    * WaPo | The birth of Fox News’ ‘migrant crime’ obsession: A month ago, this idea of “migrant crime” was not part of the Fox News patter. In late January, host John Roberts introduced a story about Chicago by asserting that, while dealing with strains because of the arrival of immigrants to the city, there was also another problem: “migrant crime.” But that was an isolated mention. It wasn’t yet a focus of his employer’s coverage. It has since become one. Over the past month, Fox News hosts, guests and video clips have mentioned “migrant crime” nearly 90 times, more than half of those in the past 10 days. The reason has a little bit to do with a police official in New York City. It has a lot to do with Donald Trump.

    * NBC Denver | Over 400 migrant families now being housed by Highlands Moms and Neighbors: Since then, the group in total has spent over 36,000 volunteer hours working to help migrants. They’ve been leveraging community network and connections to help get migrants established with jobs. So far, more than 1,300 have been hired for services such as yard work, cleaning services and other odd jobs. The group has also provided more than 61,000 meals at encampments and outside of shelters.


  1. - Drury's Missing Clock - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 1:46 pm:

    Could probably use some diapers on the fifth floor, too.

  2. - Norseman - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 1:51 pm:

    When dealing with EM agencies, it if it’s not in writing it’s nonexistent. It’s a very bureaucratic process.

  3. - Grimlock - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 1:57 pm:

    For the first time I’m thinking a recall election might be in order, Johnson better step up his game or don’t even run again.

  4. - Jocko - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 2:07 pm:

    ==the city’s one and only request for diapers in October==

    MBJ’s Apple Dumpling cabinet strikes again.

  5. - Sad - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 2:12 pm:

    I dropped off a few boxes of diapers at a shelter this afternoon. No process to receive donated items. No one to even accept the donation. I eventually just gave them to the migrants standing outside.

  6. - Charles Edward Cheese - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 2:56 pm:

    At this point I’m half expecting Mayor Johnson to stage a George Bush-esque “Mission Accomplished” photo op in front of a city run migrant shelter.

  7. - Rudy’s teeth - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 3:31 pm:

    The report on diapers in migrant shelters is unconscionable. Where is MBJ’s team? Who are the gatekeepers? How could this be allowed to occur?

    With all the big box stores in and around Chicago, send a truck and replenish the supply. Certainly MBJ’s team can contact a major online retailer to furnish these basic needs for next day delivery.

  8. - Frida's boss - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 3:32 pm:

    The 5th Floor do they ever just tell the truth? It’s becoming a running joke at this point. If working with the City you better start getting MOU’s signed.

    “It wasn’t my Fault… I ran out of gas, I had a flat tire, I didn’t have enough money for cab fare, my tux didn’t come back from the cleaners, an old friend came in from out of town, someone stole my car, there was an earthquake, a terrible flood, locusts…It wasn’t my fault…..I swear to God!!” Joliet Jake

  9. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 4:09 pm:

    ==Where is MBJ’s team?==

    I think they forfeited the game a long time ago.

  10. - Stephanie Kollmann - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 5:16 pm:

    How our state (yes, Chicago, but also the whole state) could so thoroughly mismanage the need to find housing, food, and transitional support for an additional 0.6% without chaos, panic, resentment, cruelty, and death is a really, really bad sign of our resiliency during the many looming future crises.

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