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Today's newsletter is 897 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: 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.

The big picture: Chicago is 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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2. Funding fertility treatment

Illustration of a baby onesie printed with the image of a $100 bill.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

People of color seeking fertility treatment in Chicago could get financial help under a new program.

Why it matters: Some studies show that Black people are twice as likely as their white counterparts to face infertility, but they are less likely to access assisted reproductive treatments.

Driving the news: Chicago nonprofit The Broken Brown Egg and fertility benefits company Progyny are giving away two $10,000 grants to help individuals and couples of color pay for fertility treatments, including medications.

By the numbers: Treatments such as in vitro fertilization can range anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000 per cycle, according to Forbes. For many, infertility treatments aren't covered by health insurance.

Keep reading

3. Tips and hot links

Illustration of the L train tracks with a train passing over it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🚧 Construction of the Brighton Park migrant camp will not start today as expected, according to Mayor Brandon Johnson's office. This weekend, Ald. Julia Ramirez cited a study showing the former industrial site needs to be cleaned for toxic metals. (ABC 7)

🏫 A watchdog report says Chicago's teacher shortage is most acute among special education and bilingual teachers in Black, Latino and low-income neighborhoods. (Tribune)

🐠 Residents of the Shedd Aquarium feasted on herring, octopus and squid for Thanksgiving dinner. (Block Club)

4. 🏀 Go Illini/Cats

A referee during the Big Ten Tournament last year. Photo: Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Hi, it's Justin!

Now that college football season is nearing its end, let's turn our attention to college basketball.

What's happening: Axios writers from several cities previewed Big Ten play for both men and women.

Here's everything you need to know about our hometown teams, starting with the Illinois Fighting Illini:

Photo of a basketball player celebrating on the court
Coleman Hawkins last year against Indiana. Photo: Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Coach Brad Underwood's squad is built for March Madness.

Context: The Illinois men's team returns several starters, including Terrence Shannon, who snagged first-team All-Big Ten honors last year.

Of note: Underwood has taken his teams to three straight NCAA Tournaments.

Yes, but: They've never made it past the second round.

Photo of a woman bouncing a basketball on a court.
Illinois guard Jada Peebles dribbles during the game against the Saint Peter's Peacocks. Photo: Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

On the women's side, Coach Shauna Green had a miraculous first season with the Illini, taking them from bottom feeders in the Big Ten to securing their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2000.

The intrigue: The arrow is pointing up for this season, as all of her starters return.

Next up: Northwestern Wildcats

Photo of basketball players huddling on the court.
Northwestern huddles last year. Photo: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The experienced Wildcat men return to Big Ten play with a chip on their shoulder.

Context: Northwestern finished tied for second in the conference last season and lost a close second-round NCAA Tournament game to UCLA.

  • They also return most of their starters, including star guard Boo Buie.

The bottom line: The 'Cats are hoping to return to the NCAA Tournament with back-to-back bids for the first time in school history.

Photo of a woman shooting a ball on a court
Northwestern guard Melannie Daley shoots against Notre Dame. Photo: Joseph Weiser/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Last season was dismal for the Northwestern women's team, who only mustered a couple of wins in conference play.

State of play: Northwestern lost a few graduating starters, including star guard Sydney Wood.

Yes, but: Head coach Joe McKeown scored through the transfer portal, bringing in Boston University's Maggie Pina.

Read the full Big Ten previews here and here.

5. Vote for Chicago's best TV ad

Bracket: Axios Visuals
Bracket: Axios Visuals

Victory Auto Wreckers announced this month that it's closing.

The scrapyard served its purpose for 80 years in the Chicago area, but it was best known for its commercial.

  • We couldn't get that car door out of our heads, so we decided it's time to crown the best local commercial of all time.

Methodology: What makes a good commercial? Locality and kitsch, mostly. We also had to bring balance and make sure we didn't have too many of one category. Also, no Michael Jordan or the '85 Bears commercials since they went national.

Are you ready? Vote here. The poll is open until 4pm!

Edited by Alexa Mencia and Kristen Hinman and copy edited by Matt Piper and Keely Bastow.

🥣 Monica has a nice pot of turkey soup simmering on the stove.

🗳 Justin is interested to see who files their petitions this week to run for state, local and congressional offices in 2024.

🏖 Carrie is on vacation.

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