Nov 27, 2023 - News

Migrant resettlement progress report

Yorbelis Molero, 16, says goodbye to a friend at a Chicago police station before she and her family leave by bus for Detroit in early November. Photo: Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune via Getty Images

While U.S. cities struggle to cope with an influx of migrants, some local programs are showing signs of progress in housing and helping the new arrivals.

Why it matters: These programs could significantly reduce the number of people in overcrowded shelters, police stations and mini tent cities.

The latest: As of Sunday, the city said it has been able to move migrants completely out of seven police districts.

What's happening: Chicago has helped find housing for nearly a third of the 25,635 migrants who have arrived here since August 2022.

  • The state recently kicked in an additional $65 million for a case management program to help with "housing assessments, reviewing the leases, signing them and then eventually moving," the mayor's deputy chief of staff Cristina Pacione-Zayas says.

Not all new arrivals stay. The city has purchased 2,835 bus, train and plane tickets for migrants who wanted to settle somewhere else.

Zoom in: "Some of the folks that were in our police stations actually had no intention of staying in Chicago, but would get caught up in the system and not be able to get to their final destination," Pacione-Zayas said during a recent briefing.

  • So now officials work immediately with new arrivals and "get them quickly connected to Greyhound or to Amtrak or to a plane so that they can continue with their onward movement."
  • Pacione-Zayas said they hope to help 150 migrants a week with this kind of transportation.

Reality check: Officials recently put a 60-day limit on shelter stays and eliminated rental assistance for those who arrived after Nov. 16.

What they're saying: The expanded programs and extra money from the state for case management should continue to help more people find housing, Pacione-Zayas said.

  • "Our plan has [always] been about resettlement and putting folks on a path to self-sufficiency and independence."

Zoom out: Chicago is just one of several cities buying tickets for migrants to travel to cities where they say they have family, friends or sponsors.

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