Mayor Brandon Johnson asks Chicago City Council for $70M to help house migrants

Shuttered St. Bartholomew School in Portage Park will become latest shelter for asylum-seekers

Stephanie Wade Image
Friday, April 12, 2024
Mayor Johnson asks city council for $70M to help house migrants
As the Chicago migrant crisis continues, the shuttered St. Bartholomew School in Portage Park will become the latest shelter for asylum-seekers.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Mayor Brandon Johnson is now asking for more funding to help house the thousands of migrants coming to Chicago.

Nearly 10,000 migrants are staying in city shelters right now across Chicago. Soon, the closed St. Bartholomew School in Portage Park will become the latest shelter for asylum-seekers, and it is set to open this month.

City officials said migrant families will begin moving into this former catholic school in mid-April.

The Archdiocese of Chicago is leasing the building to the city for free after it closed last year.

This is just one of the latest initiatives that are part of Mayor Brandon Johnson's "new arrivals mission."

"We have a governor of the state of Texas that is determined to create chaos. Because of the structure and the direction of my administration, we have avoided that," Johnson said.

The mayor has asked the Chicago City Council for more funding several times the past year to aid in the migrant crisis.

"Over the course of these first 11 months, I've gone to the city council multiple times; $51 million $150 million, my budget for this fiscal year, including $95 million," Johnson said.

Johnson is now asking the city council for $70 million, should there be any sudden increases in new arrivals. That money, he said, will come from the city's reserve balance, set aside in case of a catastrophic event.

"We anticipate that the governor of Texas will continue his tirade against this country. And so a part of my budget structure we put together some reserves," Johnson said.

Illinois and the City of Chicago are also set to receive $19.3 million in federal funding to help cities and states better address this crisis.

Sen. Dick Durbin said in a statement on Friday, "While I welcome this funding, it's not enough to properly provide our city with the resources we need-and I'll keep pushing for more funding to help our city and state."

According to the mayor's office, the city has spent nearly $300 million to help feed, shelter and care for migrants since August 2022. More than 34,000 migrants have been sent to Chicago in that timeframe.