Chicago Migrants

New Chicago migrant shelter a joint effort of governments, faith organizations

The shelter was provided at no cost to the City of Chicago

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Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson and Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle gave a warm welcome to migrants staying at a new shelter at St. Bartholomew Catholic Church.

The church, located in Chicago's Portage Park neighborhood, is a first of its kind intergovernmental and interfaith family shelter for migrants arriving in the city from the southern border.

"We're going to do everything in our power to bring people together," Johnson said. "The workforce, county, city, state, philanthropic community, the faith community. All of us are leaning in."

In an agreement with the City of Chicago, Cook County, the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Zakat Foundation, the new shelter comes at no cost to the city.

"We're hoping that we integrate these people into the community as soon as possible so that people can work and contribute to our society," said Halil Demir with the Zakat Foundation.

"All of our families were once in a similar situation," added Father Michael O'Connell of St. Bartholomew Catholic Church.

This event served as their official "Welcome to Chicago" party, complete with a warm meal. However, while many are welcoming these new neighbors with open arms, some in the neighborhood have many concerns.

"There is hesitation and I understand some of the hesitation but in the meeting that we did, our community meeting to propose this idea we had an overwhelming positive response," Ald. Ruth Cruz, who represents Chicago's 30th ward, said.

The Archdiocese and Zakat Foundation tell NBC 5 that there is no 60-day shelter limit here. Right now they have a six month agreement and will determine what happens next once that time approaches.

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