CHICAGO — The city is one step closer to transforming vacant land on the South Side into a migrant shelter.
On Monday, a Chicago City Council Committee advanced a plan to purchase a 67,000-square-foot vacant former Jewel and the surrounding 6.5 acres of land near West 115th Street & South Halsted Street. But local residents are organizing against the plan.
“We are here to stand up, to tell the people enough is truly enough,” Kamilya Wilson, a community activist, said.
The city’s all-hands-on-deck approach to migrant care has exacerbated tensions between Black and brown communities. Many African Americans say they’re frustrated the city is spending millions to house migrants in communities that have long suffered from disinvestment.
“Are residents are concerned because time after time, there’s been promises made and they haven’t been kept,” Ald. Ronnie Mosley (21st Ward) said.
In a statement to constituents, Mosley said he was highly disappointed in the city’s plans for 115th and Halsted.
“I haven’t been given timelines about what this looks like, when they’ll be on site, how long they’ll be on-site, what this means for safety for our community,” Mosley said.
According to a spokesman for Mayor Johnson, officials will begin work on the vacant land soon.
“The City of Chicago has been identifying viable sites across the city to stand up base camps as an alternative to new arrivals sleeping outdoors and on the floors of O’Hare Airport and police stations as winter fast approaches,” Ronnie Reese said. “The site at 115th and Halsted appears viable, and the intention is to stand up a base camp on the site.”
When ready, the location will be able to house more than 3,000 new arrivals.
The Johnson administration said when they are done using this site for temporary housing, they will transfer ownership to a local community development corporation to support affordable housing and retail space, which is what the community has been asking for.