Chicago's newest migrant shelter opens in Greektown; 200 single men capacity

North Park neighborhood Marine Corp reserve center will be converted into shelter

Sarah Schulte Image
Saturday, September 16, 2023
Chicago's newest migrant shelter opens in Greektown; 200 single men capacity
Chicago Ald. Bill Conway said city failed to share specifics about new migrant shelter at the Parthenon Guest House in Greektown.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Busloads of migrants rolled up Friday morning at Chicago's newest migrant shelter.

The Parthenon Guest House in Greektown is the city's 19th migrant shelter to open.

Close to 200 single men who have been living at police stations will be housed at the shelter.

"I'm committed to doing this housing of migrants in Greektown in a safe and secure way. We had a very productive community meeting," said 34th Ward Ald. Bill Conway.

Conway said the city failed to tell him the specifics about when or how many migrants are moving in. He said learned about the buses arrival from the media.

"I'm certainly here ready to collaborate with the mayor but what I have seen is the mayor's office has gone out of the way not to be collaborative in regards to this issue," said Conway.

Mayor Johnson has repeated several times that his administration is all about collaboration. Meantime, city council members approved TIF money to convert a former Marine Corp reserve center in the North Park neighborhood into a shelter for 500 new arrivals.

"I stand in support of acquiring the property and temporarily using the building to address the humanitarian crisis," said Ald. Samantha Nugent, 39th Ward.

The 11-acre property sits along the river in Nugent's ward. Nearby residents have mixed feelings about a big shelter in their neighborhood.

"I think it seems like a great solution. Chicago is a welcoming city we don't want people sleeping on the floor of the police stations for extended period of time," said resident Emily Russell.

The city said the building needs minimal repairs and could be ready for migrants in about three weeks. According to a city map, the site would add to a number of shelters already on the North Side.

And as the Johnson administration struggles to find appropriate shelter for the influx of migrants, it has asked alderman in all 50 wards to find space or buildings to help out.