Johnson visits migrant families at CPD's 12th District amid housing crisis
CHICAGO - Mayor Brandon Johnson spent his first full day in office meeting with migrants after emphasizing during his inaugural address that there is ‘enough room’ in the city for those seeking asylum.
"The city of Chicago is coming together to make sure the people who wish to find real comfort here in the city of Chicago, that we provide that," said Johnson.
On Tuesday, Johnson saw migrant living conditions firsthand – meeting with migrant families who recently arrived to Chicago from the Texas border.
Currently, there are still dozens of migrants, including children, who are calling the Chicago Police Department's 12th District ‘home’ until more permanent housing becomes available.
There, men and women explained to the new mayor how difficult their journeys to America were, and how grateful they are to be in Chicago.
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"Well we are grateful that you made it here, and we're going to do everything we can to make this place a real home for you," said Johnson.
Johnson shook hands and committed to developing a plan.
"It is clear that police stations and respite centers, that’s not the goal," said Johnson.
One of the first executive orders Johnson signed on Monday will establish a Deputy Mayor for Immigrant, Migrant, and Refugee Rights.
While Johnson said he hopes to fill that position as quickly as possible, he also wants to ensure they find the right person for the job.
On Tuesday, Johnson also toured the migrant respite center located at Piotrowski Park in Little Village, where he addressed the strain on the city's resources.
"Listen, when families arrive here in the city of Chicago, they have multiple needs, their health, mental health, housing, education," said Johnson. "Our administration will aggressively go after the resources that are needed to make sure Chicago is a welcoming place."
This, as organizations are stepping in to help.
In partnership with the Cook County Sheriff's Department, ShowerUp Chicago on Tuesday provided mobile showers to migrants staying at the 14th Police District.
The organization, which is based in Nashville, launched a Chicago chapter in 2021 and provides showers to homeless individuals, and now, migrants.
"They're very grateful and that's what keeps us going," said ShowerUp Chicago Regional Director Christian Peyret. "The showers are just a handshake. We provide much more than showers, we try to restore faith in people and talk to them. One of the perks of our organization is that we are bilingual. My partner and I, we are bilingual in Spanish and try to distract them from the unfortunate situation they are going through."
On a daily basis, ShowerUp Chicago provides 40-50 showers per location for those in need. There is no time limit on showers for individuals using them.
The nonprofit also provides shower kits – including toiletries and towels – to those who utilize its services. To learn more about the organization, or to donate, click HERE.