City begins moving migrants from Chicago Park District shelters to new housing locations

Michelle Gallardo Image
Saturday, March 30, 2024
City begins moving migrants out of Chicago Park District shelters
As the Chicago migrant crisis continues, the city has begun moving migrants out of Chicago Park District shelters so their programs can continue.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Saturday is the first day that migrants living in Chicago Park District shelters are scheduled to be moved to new locations so that programs can continue.

A group of migrants were removed from the temporary shelter at Piotrowski Park. City officials said they were moved to other nearby shelter locations.

The moves are expected to be complete within the next several weeks, with the city's goal to get the park district facilities back up and running as such in time for summer programming to begin. However, not all the migrant transfers are being done at once.

Two of the city's migrant shelters are no more. As of Saturday, Rogers Park's Leona Beach and Little Village's Piotrowski Park have been returned to the Park District, with some 200 migrants moved elsewhere, including to the shuttered CVS-turned-shelter at 26th Street and Pulaski.

"It's capacity is even greater than the capacity at Piotrowski Park," Ald. Michael Rodríguez said. "It's better suited to host our migrant brothers and sisters. This is a positive all the way around."

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The moves, which were announced on Monday, are the start of the city's effort to return five park district facilities to residents who for months have seen their programming either moved or disappear entirely. The City's Office of Emergency Management confirmed the transfers in a statement from a spokesperson.

"Shelter residents will be transported to nearby shelters over the next few weeks. Dates have not been confirmed," the statement read in part.

The OEMC spokesperson said 115 family members are at Brands Park in Avondale, 172 Family members are at the Broadway Armory in Edgewater and 256 single men and women are at Gage Park.

With two of the five park district facilities now empty, work can begin on repairs and other maintenance needed to get them back into service as soon as possible.

Leona Beach Park's building was mostly used for storage prior to being employed as a migrant shelter. Piotrowski will be returned better than it was before, Ald. Rodríguez said.

"We've gotten the plumbing fixed," Rodríguez said. "We've gotten the potholes fixed in and around the space. There's an outhouse that for the last 45 years of my life has almost never worked that will now be fully operational come this summer. Piotrowski park will be better in the long run for the short term investment in our new neighbors.

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As for those moved, the city has said that in order to minimize disruption, they were transferred to nearby shelters so children can remain in their existing schools.

Additional moves are schedule to take place in the coming weeks in order to reopen park district buildings for the summer.