CHICAGO — The 14th District police station is one of several in the city where asylum seekers could be seen camping out Monday evening as Chicago-area shelters reach capacity.
The Fraternal Order of Police told WGN that there are other city resources and departments that should be taking care of this, but instead, it’s been left solely with CPD to handle.
“Apparently the police department is now a homeless shelter and taxi service,” said Chicago FOP President John Catanzara. “We’ve been receiving calls for the better part of a week plus now about this issue, that’s only getting worse.”
A Venezuelan mother who spoke to WGN, who only wanted to be identified by her first name, Anngimar, said she has been taken back and forth between the 8th and 14th District police stations with her two daughters.
“They’re just shuffling them around from station to station,” Catanzara said. “they’re not doing anything for these people but making their life more inconvenient, more uncomfortable, and … at least from my perspective, putting my members in jeopardy.”
Anngimar said they’re waiting to be transferred to a shelter, but in the meantime, those they contacted over the City’s 311 helpline instructed them to stay at the police station to avoid missing pickup or transfer.
“We’ve obviously already notified the City Inspector General now,” Catanzara said. “We are going to [be] filing an OSHA complaint for haphazard types of issues … and just keep knocking on doors until someone answers and says ‘okay, enough is enough.'”
Anngimar told WGN she was not given a timeline on a possible opening at a shelter, but she is still hoping to enroll her daughters in school and find a job to provide them with essentials.
The mayor’s office provided the following statement in response Tuesday afternoon:
“The City of Chicago is working to coordinate safe passage for all new arrivals. When asylum seekers arrive at City facilities, a shelter placement request is immediately made through 3-1-1. Once the request is made, the City works with community partners to transport the individuals and families to a shelter once space is available. Additionally, we have engaged our community-based organizations to assist with the provision of temporary shelter and other services. This humanitarian crisis remains fluid, we have been working tirelessly to connect new arrivals with much needed assistance and support. We will continue to work with our local and community leaders to support those in need.”City of Chicago, Office of the Mayor