Migrants arrive at Broadway Armory for temporary housing, raising concerns about community resources

Evelyn Holmes Image
Tuesday, August 1, 2023
Some concerned as migrants move into North Side temporary housing
Chicago migrants arrived at Broadway Armory near Broadway and Thorndale, raising concerns about community resources.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Migrants began arriving Tuesday morning at the Broadway Armory, which is expected to be their temporary home for the next six months.

While their arrival has been received well by some in the Edgewater neighborhood, there are those who remain concerned that their presence could take valuable resources away from the community.

At least six buses arrived on Tuesday morning. Eventually, anywhere from 250 to 350 asylum seekers will move in to the Chicago Park District location located near Broadway and Thorndale. With almost 2.5 acres of space, the Broadway Armory is the district's largest indoor recreational facility.

SEE ALSO | Edgewater residents resist Chicago migrants moving into Broadway Armory, leaders want more resources

Jorman Blanco is just glad he and his family finally have a roof over their heads.

"There's a whole bunch of beds. It's nice in there," Blanco said.

After spending weeks, sleeping outside the Chicago Police Department's 1st District headquarters, the 26-year-old Venezuelan asylum seeker, his wife, and their three kids are among the migrants moving into the city's newest temporary shelter.

City officials have been preparing to transition the facility for the past couple of weeks despite some opposition from some neighborhood residents.

"I think this is really shameful, because this purpose is for people living here in Edgewater," said Lilly, a neighborhood resident.

"I think this might not be the best building. The city has other buildings that they could use," added resident Quinh Hoang.

While some community members welcome the move, others remain concerned about neighborhood safety and the impact on park district programs, which have, in some cases ended early or been moved to other locations.

"What we want is folks to find ways to have stable housing," said 48th Ward Alderwoman Leni Manaa Hoppenworth.

ABC7 is told the senior lunch program will not be affected.

Chicago has seen thousands of migrants coming here in the last year. So far, the city struggling, but has opened dozens of shelters to resettle them. Some say the federal government need to do more to help.

"There needs to be more funding to provide different shelters, to acquire property or lease out property, so you are not taking over public buildings," said 40th Ward Alderman Andre Vasquez, who chairs the city council's immigration committee.