City plans to move up to 190 migrants into Parthenon Guest House in Greektown

Sarah Schulte Image
Monday, September 4, 2023
City plans to move up to 190 migrants into Greektown hostel
Some residents are concerned as the city plans to move Chicago migrants into the Parthenon Guest House in Greektown.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Tucked away on Halsted Street in Greektown is the Parthenon Guest House.

Currently, it's being used as a hostel, but, by the end of the week, it will transform into a migrant shelter. Between 130 and 190 new arrivals are expected to live there.

Alderman Bill Conway, who represents the 34th Ward, was given notice at the end of last week. He asked the city to hold off for a week in order to give the community enough time to learn about it, but the Brandon Johnson administration denied his request.

"I'm disappointed in the lack of notice, the lack of detail we've been given about that. With that said, we're certainly hope we can do it in a safe and secure manner going forward," Conway said. "People are concerned based on what they've seen at other migrant shelters, but I'm optimistic, because we have had migrants here in the past. We had that without any problem."

The Lori Lightfoot administration used the Parthenon Guest House as a temporary migrant shelter from last year in October to February this year, but, there is more concern in Greektown this time.

"As time goes on and more immigrants move in, there could be a possibility there will be interruptions to daily routines," said Dennis Thompson, a Greektown resident.

Greektown restaurant owners did not want to comment on-camera. One told ABC7 off-camera that he is worried about his business if the new shelter has loitering and security issues similar to what has been reported at other shelters. Conway said because there are no close parks nearby, there is nowhere for the asylum-seekers to hang out.

"I have asked the mayor's office for additional security and what security resources they are going to provide at the Parthenon Guest House. I'm still waiting for those details," Conway said.

Since a shelter is opening in his ward, Conway asked the mayor's office to house the migrants from the ward's police district, but his request was denied.

"It's clear the current patchwork approach isn't working. We need a real centralized plan going forward. This is a humanitarian crisis, and we need the mayor to lead to provide a real plan for the entire city going forward on this," Conway said.

Conway will hold a community meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday at the Merit School of Music on South Peoria. Representatives from the city will attend to answer questions and address concerns.