CHICAGO — Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson on Friday was once again pressed about the city’s ongoing migrant housing issue.
Since August 2022, the city has received more than 20,000 new arrivals. As the city enters its coldest months, many remain out in the cold.
“Winter is coming. Everyone knows that,” Johnson said. “The weather has been somewhat patient with us. But that’s not going to last. We have to move with the type of urgency that is required at this moment.”
As of Friday morning, more than 2,700 migrants await placement at police stations. At O’Hare, 503 people seek homes. At Midway, one lone shelter seeker remains.
“My concern is the fact that we have pregnant women who are sleeping outside…we have children laying on floors,” Johnson said. “We have political dynamics that have forced the type of massive population shift that has had a tremendous impact on our local economy. Of course, there is a degree of urgency that I have to make sure, as the mayor, to ensure that people are not sleeping outside and that people are not sleeping on floors. That is our top priority.”
Johnson was also asked about the pushback from some residents and alderpeople who say they feel left out of the decision-making process regarding shelters and a lack of transparency.
“I’ve set up a new shelter every single week since I’ve been in office,” Johnson countered. “We received 150 buses just in the month of October alone and we still have 3,000 people who are living on floors in police stations and airports. That’s unconscionable.”
Johnson mentioned his recent trip to Washington, D.C., where he joined other mayors at the White House to seek funding for the crisis.
“I have worked every single day to challenge the federal government and that’s why I was in D.C. again, challenging the state of Illinois that they have to do more because this crisis is upon us,” Johnson said.
The mayor did not answer questions about the chaos that erupted Thursday at City Hall during a City Council special meeting over the sanctuary city referendum. He did say, however, that the search continues for places to house migrants.