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Volunteers join forces to help migrants in Chicago police stations


CHICAGO — Chicago authorities continue to search for a solution for homeless migrants.

Now volunteers are stepping up to provide resources to those in need.

The Chicago Police Department’s 12th Precinct is still being used as a temporary shelter as the city looks for larger facilities to convert into a recreation center.

One woman, who made a long journey from Venezuela, has been in the police station for almost two weeks.

She said the conditions aren’t ideal, but she feels lucky it’s safe and tries to look at the bigger picture.

“To be able to have legal documents that will allow me to be a part of this community and country,” she said. “I also have dreams of owning my own house, family and creating a beautiful future. I want to go to school and work.”

She is just one of about 30 migrants who sleep in the lobby of the police station.

The volunteer said that the conditions are not the best or the healthiest.

Benito Pinal said that sometimes migrants eat expired food or contract infections. He said he was doing his best to provide them with basic supplies, but it was difficult to keep up with the influx of migrants and with little to no resources or guidance from the city.

At first he helped them with Spanish translations, but after seeing some disturbing situations, he felt the urge to do more.

“They were dropped off by a bus, some people without blankets or anything else,” Pinal said. “They have to sleep on the floor without a pillow or anything. It’s just so sad.”

There have been attempts to allocate city funding to help newly arrived migrants in Chicago.

But three alternates blocked that effort Wednesday city ​​council meeting.

Of the 10,000 migrants in the city, more than 41,000 are in shelters, according to Mary May of the Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

“The city of Chicago is in the midst of a national humanitarian crisis that requires collective responsibility and swift humanitarian action to provide safe spaces for the current surge in newly arriving refugees and immigrants seeking asylum,” May said in a statement. “Our dual priorities include a coordinated effort to prioritize sheltering Chicago’s homeless population while also opening appropriate respite and shelter space for newcomers. As we work with our partners to find long-term solutions, we will continue to plan and communicate with residents to ensure continuity of services and limited disruption to programs at community facilities.”


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