OAN’s Brooke Mallory
6:12 PM – Monday, October 16, 2023
Chicago is providing an additional $9,000 in rental assistance to immigrants in need of housing accommodations, having just paid a medical company an astounding $7.2 million for staffing local shelters for just one week, according to official documents released to the press.
The city has already spent $60 million overall on staffing for a plethora of housing shelters.
After more than 18,000 illegal immigrants traveled to the state in recent months in order to find their new homes, the Windy City is now trying to house over 11,000 migrants in shelters and 4,000 who are currently sleeping at police stations and the O’Hare International Airport.
Chicago’s Deputy Chief of Staff Cristina Pacione-Zayas said that the state of Illinois is assisting with paying costs for temporary housing for migrants, including the additional $9,000 in rental aid over a six-month period to free up much-needed space.
She claims that the money will help with moving expenses and help immigrants receive government-funded apartment “starter kits,” which would contain furnishing supplies and more.
In order to assist immigrants in finding temporary lodging, the city has also allocated up to $4 million, while the state of Illinois has allotted an additional $38 million.
“That rent lasts for six months, and ideally people would have started their legal process, secured legal work authorization, and be able to sustain that apartment,” said Pacione-Zayas. “I guess the payment toward the landlord is based on market rate, it’s based on the configuration of the apartment. And so it varies from place to place.”
Meanwhile, according to NBC 5, a recent investigation found that Kansas-based “Favorite Healthcare Staffing” charged the city more than $7.2 million to provide additional staff to immigrant shelters for only four weeks.
The bills included one nurse who received $20,000 for only one week of labor in December and 400 workers who were paid between April 22nd and May 19th. In April, the same nurse earned $16,536 for seven days of work.
After hearing about their December invoices, the city seemed to lower hourly rates. The lowest staff rates remained at $50 per hour, while the highest was $156 per hour before overtime.
$1.4 million was allotted for the old Wadsworth School, $1.6 million for the Inn of Chicago, and $1.2 million for the Social Club shelter.
Furthermore, more buses from Texas were reported to be arriving carrying more asylum seekers, and the situation is not getting any better, local Chicagoans say.
41 more buses carrying asylum seekers arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border only last week.
This week, a border visit by Mayor Johnson (D-Ill.) and other city council members is already scheduled.
“We need to go assess the situation,” Johnson said. “This is serious. And I’ve been saying it. I mean this ain’t the first time you’ve heard me say how serious this dynamic is.”
Texas has been the primary source of immigrants arriving in Chicago over the past year, mostly at the command of Governor Greg Abbott (R-Texas). The city’s current services were strained as more immigrants from a number of countries entered the U.S.
Officials acknowledged that the city needed greater assistance from the state and federal governments but failed to identify longer-term housing solutions.
Many immigrants come from Venezuela, where millions of people have fallen into poverty as a result of a political, social, and economic disaster over the previous ten years. At least 7.3 million people have emigrated, braving a perilous journey to the U.S., Chicago officials said.
However, the influx of immigrants and the temporary shelters set up have angered many Chicago locals.
Following complaints and protests from Chicagoans who said that the facility had originally offered a safe area for the city’s youth, officials abruptly abandoned plans last week to convert a park’s football fieldhouse into an additional immigrant shelter.
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker (D-Ill.) has now pleaded with President Joe Biden to steer foreign asylum seekers away from his state. Ironically, just two years earlier, Pritzker had referred to his state as the “Most Welcoming State in the Nation” and maintained that he would advance immigration rights.
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