Chicago shelters overwhelmed as more migrant buses may be on the way

Just two days after Mayor Lori Lightfoot sent a letter to Texas Governor Greg Abbott asking him to stop bussing migrants to Chicago, it’s possible that more buses are already on the way.

Still, it’s unclear if and when additional migrants could be arriving to the city. By 9 p.m. Tuesday evening, no migrant buses had arrived at Union Station.

After taking in more than 8,000 migrants since last August, city officials said shelters are overrun and resources are dwindling.

Some migrants have ended up sleeping in police stations, including the 3rd District.

"Literally, these people are sleeping in the foyer between two glass doors, not even inside the police station," said Pete Keller, founder and CEO of ULON Resource Center.


Keller said he has room to house migrants at the ULON Resource Center, located at 74th Street and South Cottage Grove Avenue.

He told FOX 32 Chicago that he was given the green light to transport the migrants there, but Tuesday morning, the plan came to a sudden halt.

"As they lined up, we got everybody’s name registered, we sent them through, we let 311 know, and as we get right outside the door, a lieutenant stops us, ‘hold on hold on,’" said Keller.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Mayor Lightfoot said, in part:

"Migrants are not obligated to remain at the police station, City shelters, or respite sites. However, migrants who leave risk pick-up delays or cancellation of their request for transportation to a shelter, especially if there is no way to contact them. We commend the Chicago Police officers for playing an integral part in our mission to coordinate safe passage for all new arrivals."

Keller said he is still ready and willing to help – and in the meantime, has been delivering bags of clothing and other necessities to migrant families.

"As Americans, we have to stand up right now, this is a time when America is going to have to decide, you know what, are we going to be a part of the solution or the problem," said Keller.

Nearby at 76th Street and Constance Avenue, the former South Shore High School could become the newest home to migrants.

This Thursday at 6 p.m., a community meeting will be held to discuss the plan.

A similar move to house migrants in the former Wadsworth Elementary School received pushback from Woodlawn residents, but still came to fruition.

FOX 32 Chicago has also learned there are other potential housing sites under consideration as well.