Chicago residents attempt to block migrants from moving into former Woodlawn school
CHICAGO - One-hundred migrants moved into the former Wadsworth Elementary School in Woodlawn on Thursday. This comes after neighborhood residents voiced opposition.
The Venezuela natives arrived by CTA bus, carrying bikes, laundry baskets and duffel bags. The city says they were relocated from other facilities because of capacity limits.
Chicago police maintained a heavy presence at 64th and University Avenue as a small group of protesters tried to block the group from arriving.
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"I’m not comfortable with it in my neighborhood. I can’t speak for everyone else," one woman said.
Over the last several weeks, Woodlawn residents have expressed concerns about the move. Alderman Jeanette Taylor of the 20th Ward says she, along with residents, have been left out of the loop regarding planning and services that will be offered.
Taylor says she welcomes migrants, but the neighborhood is already grappling with high crime, gentrification and significant homelessness.
"We had one-thousand people displaced. If you wanna spend money, help me help these longtime homeowners," she said.
It comes as more than 5,000 migrants have been bused to Chicago since last year.
Lynnette Delaney is a lifelong Southsider and like many residents, she had hoped the school would transition into a community center for adults and children.
The migrants are expected to be housed at Wadsworth for two years.
"I hope they get resources and I hope we get resources we’ve been asking for as well," Delaney said.
A spokesperson for the mayor’s office says the location will also provide housing for homeless Chicago residents.
The state of Illinois has approved funding for the city's expenses.