Community meeting held as migrants prepare to move to Greektown hostel next week

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A community meeting was held in the 34th Ward on Wednesday evening as asylum-seeking migrants prepare to move to a hostel in Chicago's Greektown neighborhood.

“I’m broadly frustrated at the short notice and lack of detail I’ve been given,” Ald. Bill Conway said.

Conway just got word days ago from Mayor Brandon Johnson's office about migrants moving into Greektown’s Parthenon Guest House Hostel. He organized a community meeting Wednesday with citizens and the city hoping to answer residents’ frustration and concerns.

“I’m a Christian. I believe in helping everyone," said West Loop resident Laruby Sangster. "I want to help the migrants but I also want to help the people walking over here. It would be one thing to bring people in and you have the services and support but you don’t have it. You don’t have it for the people here!”

“If the state can come up with $52 million to home and house them, they can come up with $52 million to home or house our homeless population," said Chicagoan Arzette James-Wallace.

Just under 200 migrants are expected to move into The Parthenon hostel beginning Sept. 15, and will likely be mostly individuals as opposed to families. There will not be background checks performed by the city on the new residents, though additional security measures will be taken

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

The hostel previously served as a migrant shelter from October 2022 to February 2023, though only 136 people can be accommodated by The Parthenon.

Meanwhile, Chicago police note that there are nearly 7,000 migrants in city shelters and almost 2,000 waiting for placement. More migrants are heading to Chicago on buses, with arrivals expected on Thursday.

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