Amundsen Park

‘Give us a voice:' Chicago residents sound off against plan to house migrants at Austin's Amundsen Park

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Longtime residents in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood are not happy after learning the city wants to house around 200 migrants at Amundsen Park.

“It’s not fair. We are taxpayers,” said resident Mona Collins. “Give us a voice.”

“They treat us like we’re invisible like we don’t even exist,” said resident Charlene Johnson.

“We haven’t heard a word from you Brandon Johnson about our community,” said resident Donald Glover.

Glover is the president of the Amundsen Park Advisory Council and said he is against the city’s plan, citing health, crime, and safety.

“We’re not anti-immigration,” he said. “But why should our lives suffer and you’re not thinking about us—it’s not right.”

NBC Chicago learned from Ald. Chris Taliaferro the city’s plan is to start moving migrants in this weekend. He said activities and programming at the field house would be moved to Sayre Park and Lovett Elementary.

“The parks are for the citizens of Chicago,” said Glover. “Why should our lives change for the worse to be convenient to someone else—that’s not fair.”

Meanwhile, the largest shelter in the city is at the Inn of Chicago hotel in Streeterville with 1,500 people, and multiple members of the City Council are looking to close it.

Ald. Brian Hopkins said they’ve been dealing with ongoing problems from prostitution to narcotic sales.

“We have a special task force that’s designed to get on top of this to stop the illegal narcotic trade and they’re doing their job, but it’s hard to keep up with this,” he said.

Hopkins told constituents in an email he wants the shelter to close when its contract expires at the end of the year. He doesn’t want the contract to be renewed. As for residents in Austin, they’re calling out city hall.

“We’re going to fight them,” said Glover. “I’m going to say this on TV—Brandon Johnson and Chris Taliaferro this is your hat and you’re going to wear it.”

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