Migrants evicted from Chicago shelters; families with children allowed longer stay

Monday, March 18, 2024
3 migrants evicted from Chicago shelters
Chicago enacted its 60-day migrant residence policy Sunday at the Gage Park Fieldhouse, North Elston and Wadsworth shelters, evicting three people.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- New arrivals staying in city migrant shelters were evicted on Sunday.

The video in the player above is from a previous report.

The City of Chicago had announced Friday that 34 migrants, who are primarily single men, would be evicted from three city-run shelters, as the city enacted its 60-day maximum shelter stay policy after months of delays.

Late Sunday, the city provided an updated saying three migrants were evicted from shelters of the 34 migrants who were set to be moved.

If the migrants are without housing, they would be able return to the landing zone to start the process over again and apply for a spot in a city shelter, according to the city.

The evictions represent the start of a policy the city announced back in November, but has repeatedly delayed because of the winter months.

I don't believe the city should be in the business of evicting people
Alderman Andre Vasquez

The city also announced that over 2,000 new arrivals could stay in shelters through April.

Families with children can stay through June in order for children to have consistency throughout the rest of the school year.

READ ALSO: Majority of evictions at Chicago migrant shelters on hold as city grapples with measles outbreak

Migrants were evicted from Wadsworth Shelter, the North Easton Shelter and the Gage Park Fieldhouse.

Outside of West Town's migrant shelter Sunday morning, there was talk among residents of those who were shown the door and concern that they might be next.

The 60-day maximum stay police is designed to open up shelter space for new arrivals, the city said. The new policy will see 250 migrants evicted by the end of March, over 2,000 by the end of April. Families with children can stay through June in order for children to have consistency throughout the rest of the school year.

However, not everyone in city government agrees that the policy is the way to go.

"I don't believe the city should be in the business of evicting people," 40th Ward Alderman Andre Vasquez said. "Especially those that don't have shelter, don't have work authorization, don't have rental assistance."

Exempt from eviction, at least for now, are families with children, who will be able to request up to three 30-day extensions. Also exempted are those with certain medical conditions or a recent exposure to measles, who will also be allowed to request an extension.

"Even though families with kids can have an extension until school breaks out, what happens after school breaks out?" Ald. Vasquez said. "Now those families are going to be out homeless."

SEE ALSO: Chicago other speaks out after son infected with measles: 'Thought he was going to die in my arms'

Those who have spent nearly a year volunteering with migrants on a near daily basis at the shelters agree.

"in order for them to pay for the housing, they would need a job," volunteer Maria Perez said. "I hate to see them set them up to fail. Unfortunately, they're still in the process of getting situated."

Meanwhile, a group of Gage Park residents gathered outside the fieldhouse-turned-shelter Sunday to protest the existence of the shelter altogether, which has seen services previously offered there relocated to other parts of the city.

"It seems like it's indefinite, and we don't know when we're coming back... we're not getting any answers," said Tiffony Stepney-Davis with Gage Park Residents. "My daughter was a participant in the special recreation program, and she got relocated to McKinley park. She was at the park for 14 years before the program was relocated."

In the meantime, less people plan to migrate to the Chicago area, according to a weekly report from Customs and Border Protection.

Anyone coming through the landing zone will need to have proof of measles vaccination, or take an MMR vaccine to get into a shelter, the city said.

City officials said those expected to leave shelters will receive their first notice 45 days in advance.