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Migrants remain in Chicago shelters during measles outbreak


(The Center Square) – The city of Chicago has begun evicting migrants from shelters, but at a much slower pace than planned.

Mayor Brandon Johnson said Friday that 34 migrants would be evicted Sunday, while thousands would stay in shelters with case-specific exemptions. Just three migrants were actually evicted Sunday.

Commissioner of Chicago Department of Family and Support Services Brandie Knazze said, “right now the process is that individuals will go back to the landing zone, and they will reapply for a shelter through that process.”

Knazze said the migrants being evicted would receive notice “at 45 days and at the 21-to-15-day increment. Two-to-three days before they’re expected to leave, they’ll be reminded and told that their exit time will be 2 p.m. and, you know, that they’ll need to start packing their belongings.”

One reason for the exemptions is a measles outbreak at several shelters. At least 12 cases had been reported by the end of last week.

Johnson had said that the city would begin enforcing a 60-day limit for migrants at city shelters. Thousands would have faced eviction had the mayor not provided exemptions, including the one for those exposed to the measles.

According to the mayor, the city’s health department is addressing the outbreak.

“We’re going literally floor to floor with partners, encouraging migrants to get vaccinated,” Johnson said.

Johnson said there is some reticence among migrants and others about getting measles vaccines.

“We’re doing some real serious education. The number of migrants in particular who were unvaccinated who are vaccinated now, that number has substantially grown in terms of those who have gotten shots in their arms,” Johnson said.

City officials say they will begin requiring vaccines for migrants in shelters.

According to Johnson’s statement issued on Friday, the 60-day stay limit has been extended for 5,673 individuals who were originally scheduled to exit shelters beginning on Jan. 16. The city says it will continue giving new shelter residents a 60-day notice upon entering the shelter system.