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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.


In huge blow to Bailey, Trump endorses Mike Bost (Updated)

Tuesday, Feb 20, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Click the pic for a link to the actual post

Bailey hasn’t raised much money, and has put almost all of his campaign eggs into the Trump endorsement basket.


…Adding… Brenden Moore

In a statement, Bailey campaign spokesman Joe DeBose said the candidate still “proudly stands with President Trump despite disagreeing with him on this endorsement.”

“We look forward to working with President Trump to champion working families, secure our borders, defend our freedoms, and put America First—no compromises, no apologies,” DeBose said.


White Sox make their pitch (Updated x2)

Tuesday, Feb 20, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Justin Laurence at Crain’s

To pay for the new Sox stadium, Reinsdorf is seeking to lay claim to the revenue from a 2% hotel occupancy tax, currently used to pay for ISFA’s annual debt service, for decades beyond when all outstanding bonds are currently meant to be paid off in 2034. […]

Reinsdorf is also seeking to create a tax-overlay district surrounding the proposed stadium that would capture the state’s portion of sales taxes generated in the area — estimated at roughly $400 million over an undisclosed period — to be set aside to subsidize the stadium and back the new bonds. […]

Adding the sales tax revenue to the pot would also allow ISFA to borrow more money, which a source familiar with the bonding plan said would get into the “ballpark” of the roughly $1.2 billion in assistance that Reinsdorf is seeking in order to build a park with a capacity to hold between 35,000 to 38,000 people and retire the current ISFA debt. […]

Currently, Related Midwest would pay the upfront costs to build a new $364 million CTA Red Line stop, the $85 million realignment of Metra tracks running through the site, and $102 million towards various street improvements and reconstructing the riverfront seawall. As incremental revenue flows into the TIF district, the city would repay Related for the infrastructure costs.

* Meanwhile…

* NBC 5

White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf will meet with legislative leaders in Springfield on Tuesday as he attempts to secure public funding to construct a new stadium, according to multiple sources.

Multiple sources told NBC Chicago that Democratic and Republican leaders will sit down with Reinsdorf as he seeks $1 billion in public funding for a new White Sox Stadium near the South Loop.

…Adding… NBC Sports Chicago

“We recognize discussions about The 78 serving as the future home of the Chicago White Sox have generated a lot of excitement over the potential of the larger project’s positive economic impact,” the [White Sox] statement says. “We are mindful and respectful of the legislative process and wanted to travel to Springfield to meet personally with legislative leaders. We’re excited to share our vision, and we appreciate their time and hospitality.”

Another statement followed from a Related Midwest Spokesperson.

“We appreciated the time afforded to us by lawmakers in Springfield today,” the statement says. “As we shared in the meetings, The 78 is a generational development and an investment in our hometown. It’s personal to us and we are excited about the prospect of delivering the city’s next great neighborhood, while making an historic economic investment that will bring over 10,000 construction jobs and 22,000 permanent jobs to our city and state. The long-term impact will be transformative – creating a new riverfront neighborhood anchored by a state-of-the-art ballpark for generations of fans to enjoy and help enhance Chicago’s place as a top destination.”

…Adding… Speaker Welch…

“I want to thank Jerry Reinsdorf for coming down to discuss his vision in person. There are a lot of conversations that still need to be had, but I appreciate the opportunity to discuss future goals for Chicago teams.”


Live coverage

Tuesday, Feb 20, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* You can click here or here to follow breaking news. It’s the best we can do unless or until Twitter gets its act together.


*** UPDATED x1 - Governor’s office rebuts *** Mayor doubles down

Friday, Feb 16, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Leigh Giangreco and Justin Laurence at Crain’s

Illinois and Cook County have pledged about $250 million in funding to aid the ongoing migrant crisis, but the city says it never committed to provide its own share of $71 million.

State, county and city officials identified $321 million needed through 2024 to support ongoing shelter and support services, according to a Feb. 15 state and county joint statement.

A spokesman for the mayor’s office told Crain’s the “city never made that commitment” to provide the additional $71 million.

Mary Ann Ahern

Earlier this month, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle met with Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson at City Hall to discuss the need for more funding.

Multiple sources tell NBC Chicago that all three agreed on what it would take to prepare that funding, but the mayor later distanced the city from the agreement.

*** UPDATE *** Jordan Abudayyeh rebuts…

After a month of meetings where the state, county and city worked to assemble a long term funding plan, it was widely reported that the Governor attended a meeting at City Hall on February 5th.

At that meeting the state, county and city agreed that an additional $321 million was needed to sustain current operations to continue providing much needed humanitarian aid.

The Governor agreed to ask the General Assembly for $182 million to cover more than half of the additional funding, while it was agreed that the county and city would go to the county board and city council for the rest of the funding.

With the understanding of those commitments the staffs from each office, including the Mayor’s Office, met to discuss making the joint funding announcement and briefing our respective legislative bodies.

By Wednesday of that week the city pulled out of a staff level planning meeting and by the weekend the Mayor called the Governor to notify him the city would not be a part of the joint announcement.

* From Isabel…

    * Sun-Times | To trace the origins of busing migrants to Chicago, start with Donald Trump, Tucker Carlson and Ted Cruz: Pritzker said he worried about what would happen after May 11, 2023 — a day “burned in my head.” That was the expiration date for Title 42, the federal coronavirus health order enacted under the Trump administration to allow U.S. authorities to quickly send migrants back to Mexico. “We all knew that that could mean that there would be a big flow into the country — not knowing if the governor of Texas was going to now flood them into Chicago or to some other location,” Pritzker said.

    * WIFR | Winnebago Co. Board discusses resolution for potential migrant crisis: Leaving the floor open to the public, board members took input from residents on how the situation should be handled. Board member Paul Arena says the point of the discussion was to make it clear that the discussed resolution applies only if migrants are abandoned in the county en route to Chicago. “We hope that it eases the public’s mind. That they are made confident that number one we are responsibly using their tax money and secondly to people that are concerned about the welfare of migrants, that we are going to give them proper care, should this happen.”

    * CNN | I asked criminologists about immigration and crime in the US. Their answers may surprise you: Charis Kubrin and Graham Ousey literally wrote the book on immigration and crime. They’ve been researching these issues for decades and analyzed numerous studies for their 2023 book, “Immigration and Crime: Taking Stock.” […] Ousey: Human beings commit crime in pretty much all societies across the globe. But the bottom line is what gets lost in those anecdotal stories — those lead you to a flashpoint of negativity in which you ignore all the potentially good things that immigrants bring to our society. And it’s frustrating to try to bring evidence to the table and try to contextualize things and put it statistically when you’re arguing against this flashpoint that allows people to more or less kind of ignore everything else.

    * NYT | Big Burden of Migrant Influx Strains Denver: In his first six months in office last summer, the mayor of Denver, Mike Johnston, managed to get more than 1,200 homeless people off the streets and into housing. That seemed like a fitting feat for a city that prides itself on its compassion. It would turn out to be a footnote compared with the humanitarian crisis that Denver would soon face as thousands of migrants flooded the city, many of them bused from the southern border by Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas and almost all of them in need of shelter and support.

    * Axios | Most Americans say the feds are doing a bad job with the migrant crisis: About 80% of Americans say the U.S. government is doing a bad job dealing with the large number of migrants at the border, including 45% who say it is doing a very bad job, a new survey finds. […] About 78% of respondents say the large number of migrants seeking to enter the country at the U.S.-Mexico border is either a crisis (45%) or a major problem (32%), according to the Pew Research Center survey.

    * CBS | How much is Massachusetts spending to shelter and feed migrants and homeless? I-Team obtains vendor contracts: Records obtained by the I-Team show the state has 17 contracts for housing totaling more than $116 million. Those contracts are only for fiscal year 2024 and end in June. […] In some cases, the hotels are collecting money from the state for three meals a day, $16 for breakfast, $17 for lunch and $31 for dinner. That means $64 dollars a day per person.

    * Wired | YouTube Livestreamers Made Money ‘Hunting’ for Migrants Along the US Border: “Anybody in there,” said Dennis Yarbery, one of the YouTubers, as he approached a migrant camp at night in Jacumba Hot Springs, California, near the border last week. Yarbery was livestreaming to thousands of people. “Come out, come out wherever you are.” Yarbery is one of three men who split off from the Take Our Border Back convoy in Texas and, according to their livestreams, spent days driving along the border in Arizona and California to harass migrants and volunteers with nonprofit groups.


Live coverage

Friday, Feb 16, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* You can click here or here to follow breaking news. It’s the best we can do unless or until Twitter gets its act together.


* Pritzker says White Sox stadium push so far is 'not enough to make it a priority' for Springfield
* Evidence-based funding falling behind in more ways than one
* *** UPDATED x1 - City files legal response *** More confusion on Bring Chicago Home
* It’s just a bill
* Should AG Raoul try to yank this guy's pension?
* ‘Nothing can be passed without our members’
* Open thread
* Isabel’s morning briefing
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