A Chicago pilot program is underway to house homeless people who live under Lake Shore Drive viaducts on the city's North Side. Homeless encampment residents met with city officials Wednesday to discuss the pilot program's status and what comes next for "Tent City."
The number of people seeking sanctuary in the Chicago area is growing significantly, according to a local agency that helps refugees resettle in the city.
"Right now, we are experiencing a really crazy surge in arrivals," Lea Tienou told an audience of college students as well as immigrant and refugee service providers and advocates.
Tienou is associate director of refugee family adjustment and employment services at the Heartland Alliance. She spoke Monday afternoon at DePaul University's Loop campus as part of a panel discussion about the global refugee crisis.
The Heartland Alliance typically sees about 20 refugees per month, Tienou explained. Just in the last month, however, 100 refugees came to the agency, and 90 more are expected to seek assistance from the Heartland Alliance in September.
"It's been a really busy time, and this is throughout the country that we're seeing a really large influx of arrivals," she said.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Reps. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL,4) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL,8) are scheduled to attend a Monday morning roundtable discussion in Chicago on "commonsense" immigration reform.
Five Chicago aldermen want to surplus funds from a tax increment financing, or TIF, district located in their wards and use the money to help "alleviate the budget crisis" at the cash-strapped Chicago Public Schools.