CHICAGO — As the city works to keep up with the influx of migrants arriving, more buses were brought to the city, including the largest number of buses in a single day since the start of the operation.
The 12 buses arrived as volunteers continue to work around the clock to get people the resources they need.
“This weekend has been really tough, and it was coming off of a lot of movement as well of people out of districts and into shelters,” Anna Gomberg, a lead volunteer organizer, said.
Gomberg is one of hundreds of people helping migrants in the city. She leads the efforts to organize volunteers at the 15th Police District in the city’s Austin neighborhood.
“At this station alone we have about 150 people who are a part of our group,” Gomberg said.
According to city officials, 12 buses arrived this weekend. Five buses came in on Saturday and another seven arrived on Sunday. Gomberg says they are working closely with the city to figure out where everyone will go.
“It is exhausting, it is never-ending, it feels like there’s so much need and there’s so much we have to do to support these people,” Gomberg said.
Nearly 1,600 people are living temporarily at Chicago police districts as they await shelter placement, but due to a lack of space, many are now forced to sleep in tents outside. One mother and her children have called the police district home for three months.
“This is supposed to be very temporary. None of this supports the dignity of human life,” Gomberg said.
Within the last few weeks, city officials have signed a $29 million contract with GardaWorld to erect, staff and operate tent cities and Gomberg says she has concerns and reservations.
“It is really hard for us to support this idea when it isn’t best practice for urban refugees, we know that,” Gomberg said.
According to Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications, more than 8,600 migrants remain in city shelters and more than 400 are awaiting placement at O’Hare International Airport, on top of those sheltering in CPD Districts.
“I also know, this is what we can do right now,” Gmberg said. “So the volunteers and myself are doing everything we can to make this as livable as a place as it can be.”
Volunteers in Austin have kept the area clean and provided food and water for those temporarily staying in CPD Districts. Volunteers in Austin even got children enrolled in school at the start of the year.
City officials tell WGN TV News that it is believed seven buses is the largest number the city has received in a single day. There is no official word on how many migrants arrived in total this weekend or where they will be brought.