Chicago Migrants

Fulton Market, Greektown, tent camps: Where Chicago migrants may be housed as more arrive

More than 13,5000 migrants have arrived in Chicago from Texas since August 2022

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As buses full of migrants sent from Texas to Chicago arrive daily, city officials have continued to struggle with finding safe and sanitary housing for them.

According to city officials, more than 13,500 migrants have arrived in Chicago from Texas since August 2022. As of Sept. 6, city officials said there were 6,828 migrants staying across 18 temporary shelters.

1,997 migrants were currently awaiting placement, and of those, 1,529 migrants were staying at police stations, and 462 migrants were staying at O'Hare International Airport, the city said.

And while City Council over the summer passed a $51 million budget amendment that aimed to address the needs of migrants and asylum seekers in Chicago, local and state officials have pushed for more financial support from the federal government.

“One of the biggest challenges is getting the federal government to come up with more money to help with this situation because we can not take on this burden,” 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett Jr. said. “We don’t have like an endless pool of money.”

According to officials, Illinois and the city of Chicago have spent $350 million on the migrant crisis. The federal government provided $38 million in reimbursements.

As more buses continue to arrive, here are the three latest locations where city officials have said migrants could move to.

Parthenon Guest House, Greektown

Nearly 200 migrants are expected to move into the closed Parthenon Guest House Hostel in Chicago's Greek Town neighborhood next week.

As many as 196 migrants will begin moving into the closed Parthenon Guest House, located at 310 S. Halsted St., next Friday, a report from the Chicago Sun-Times said. It's expected to house single adults without children, but the Sun-Times reports officials said that plan is “still under consideration."

Each room will house multiple migrants, with some rooms holding four to six people, the Sun-Times said.

According to officials, there will not be background checks performed by the city on the new residents, though additional security measures will be taken, 34th Ward Ald. Bill Conway said Wednesday.

“I have been assured by the mayor’s office that there will be four security guards on a 24-7 basis,” Conway told NBC Chicago.

Conway said he received word from Mayor Brandon Johnson's office just days ago, and organized Wednesday's meeting as an effort to answer residents' frustrations and concerns.

“I've not been shy about my frustration with the lack of detail and short notice I was given on this plan by the Mayor’s office,”Ald. Bill Conway said in a statement.

From October 2022 to February 2023, the same hostel had previously served as a temporary migrant shelter. At that time, the city said The Parthenon could only accommodate 136 people.

Fulton Market

In the Fulton Market District, 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett Jr. told NBC Chicago the city is considering an office building in his ward to serve as another temporary shelter.

“I do know it's going to be families,” he said. “I’m setting up for a tour of the building so I can make sure it's conducive for the community.”

The alderman learned about the proposed plan about a week ago. The nearly 50,000 square foot office building has five floors located along Ogden Avenue. Tom De Boer runs his business, the Chicago Card Club in the space.

“It’s actually pretty crazy,” said De Boer. “We only signed the lease a few months ago, we only finished the build out maybe a month and a half ago, as you can see we spent a lot of money doing that and now we’re suddenly being asked to leave—not okay with it.”

De Boer said he will take this issue to court if he has too.

“We have a lease that’s lasting for some time,” he said. “We have no intention to leave, if he attempts to build a migrant shelter above our heads then I’ll sue him.”

The Fulton Market Association hasn’t taken an official stance on the issue, but said there could be a problem with zoning.

“We have understood that the property in question under our read of the Chicago zoning code does not allow residents to live there,” said Fulton Market Association Executive Director Roger Romanelli. “The property is in a planned manufacturing district zoning area that is the city’s most restrictive zoning.”

Tent Camps

Nearly 1,600 migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. will be relocated from Chicago police stations to winterized camps with massive tents under a plan by Mayor Brandon Johnson, according to a report released Thursday.

The relocations will occur “before the weather begins to shift and change,” Johnson said in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times.

The tents could hold up to 1,000 migrants, he said, and the camps would provide meals and recreational and educational programming.

Sixteen city shelters now house 13,500 migrants, with more arriving every day, at a cost to the city of about $30 million per month the newspaper reported.

Johnson's administration is working with the state and Cook County to create more shelters to relieve some of the pressure on Chicago, he said.

“These families are coming to the city of Chicago. . . . If we do not create an infrastructure where we’re able to support and, quite frankly, contain these individuals who have experienced a great deal of harm, individuals who are desperate . . . that type of desperation will lead to chaos,” Johnson said.

Earlier this week, several migrants were arrested in separate incidents on suspicion of threatening or battering officers at a police station.

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