Chicago plans to house migrants in old elementary school

(NewsNation) — Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot wants to turn an old school into a shelter for 250 migrants, and some area residents are not happy about it.

NewsNation affiliate WGN reports that the city planned to start moving migrants Jan. 23 into the old Wadsworth Elementary School.

The old school will house 250 migrants initially and add more people in gradually. It is expected to hold single men and women in separate living quarters.

In an interview with NewsNation host Leland Vittert on Monday evening, WGN investigative reporter Ben Bradley said Chicago has received about 5,000 migrants bused to the city over the last few months. Bradley explained that Chicago has no place to put the migrants and homeless shelters are full.

“Now, what we’re seeing play out is the mayor chose to basically use an unused, empty school, pay for renovations to it to house these migrants. We’re seeing a lot of people in that community on the south side of Chicago say, ‘Not in my backyard,’” Bradley told Vittert.

The idea has resulted in some contentious neighborhood community meetings, with area residents sharing their concerns.

“You helping other countries, why don’t you help the people who need it here?” resident Louis Cardona asked at one of the meetings.

While many specifics have not been released about the migrant center, Bradley says the city is promising round-the-clock security there along with migrant access to city and state services.

“But you hear from residents saying, we already don’t get enough police protection here, our community isn’t particularly well connected to public transit and now you’re going to put several hundred people who are in need of resources, in need of jobs, in need of an ability to get there … and they’re going to face many of the same problems we in our community have been complaining about for decades,” Bradley said.

According to the Department of Family and Support Services, the old school turned shelter will be used for up to two years, but that timeline is subject to change.

On Balance with Leland Vittert

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