City of Chicago Announces New Shelter Stay Policy, Additional Landing Zone Personnel and New Regulatory Measures
In partnership with the State of Illinois, the City of Chicago is accelerating pathways to resettlement for asylum seekers.
CHICAGO – With the aim of accelerating resettlement efforts for new arrivals, the City of Chicago is announcing the next phase of the New Arrivals Mission. Three new efforts build upon the work that the City has been doing for the past year.
First, in partnership with the State of Illinois, the City is increasing personnel at the landing zone to help new arrivals reunite with their friends, family or verified sponsors. For many new arrivals, Chicago is not the final destination. By aiding new arrivals at the point of arrival, the City can save space in the shelter system for those individuals and families who plan to stay in Chicago.
Second, the City is regulating “rogue buses” which cause unnecessary logistical obstacles for intake and put the lives of new arrivals in danger – particularly as the temperatures drop. New regulatory tools will allow the City to cite and fine bus companies that disregard curfews, landing zone locations and loading/unloading protocols.
Finally, the City will implement a limited stay policy along with additional supports from the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS). For individuals and families currently in City shelters, the City will be issuing 60-day exit notices in waves based on their arrival date to shelter.
- New arrivals who entered shelter in 2022 will receive a 60-day notice beginning 11/17/2023. Approximately 50 people will receive notices in this group.
- New arrivals who entered shelter between 1/1/2023 - 7/31/2023 will begin receiving 60-day notices on 12/4/2023. Approximately 3,000 people currently in shelter arrived in this timeframe.
- New arrivals who entered shelter between 7/31/2023 - 11/16/2023 will begin receiving 60-day notices on 2/1/2024. Approximately 8,800 people currently in shelter arrived in this timeframe.
- All new arrivals to shelter on or after 11/17/2023 will receive a 60-day notice upon intake.
“There are three anchors to this new phase in our plan: creating pathways to resettlement, community integration and reunification, creating jobs for Chicagoans in staffing the New Arrivals Mission, and building public infrastructure for the public good,” said Mayor Brandon Johnson. “Above all, we are treating our new neighbors with compassion because it is the humane thing to do and because with support, they can become productive members of our communities, contributing to our economy, our culture and our society.”
The City of Chicago has successfully resettled or assisted outmigration for more than 10,000 new arrivals as part of the New Arrivals Mission. Working with partners at Catholic Charities and the State of Illinois, the City has helped resettle more than 7,000 individuals, including more than 2,700 households into long-term housing. Permanent or long-term housing is a crucial step on the path to self-sufficiency and resettlement. The City has also helped reunite more than 2,500 new arrivals with friends, family, or verified sponsors.
The City has also taken a number of measures to employ Chicago workers and businesses in the New Arrivals Mission, successfully renegotiating the contract with Favorite Staffing multiple times, resulting in a majority of staffing shifting to local/regional staff and cost-savings of more than $1.5 million per week. The City has also put out a number of requests for proposal for both shelter staff and food services.
The New Arrivals Mission has bolstered the City’s crisis response systems and significantly expanded the City’s ability to quickly stand-up and run shelters. The FY2024 budget makes critical investments in the Department of Family and Support Services and the Office of Emergency Management and Communications to continue to expand the public infrastructure of the City.
Alongside the roll-out of these notices, the City is partnering with IDHS to provide those in shelter as of 11/16/23 with additional supports, including short-term housing resettlement resources via the Asylum Seeker Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ASERAP). The City's goal in implementing this plan is to assist as many asylum-seekers as possible in moving on to resettlement while creating necessary shelter space for those currently staying on police station or airport floors, or sleeping outside.
To maximize the number of individuals that can be supported with limited ASERAP resources, IDHS is adjusting ASERAP to provide three months of rental assistance rather than six months of rental assistance.
In addition, beginning today, all individuals and families newly entering a City shelter will be given a 60-day shelter stay. At the end of their 60-day period, those who are still in need of shelter must return to the landing zone to place a new shelter request. Under extenuating circumstances, including medical crisis or severe cold weather, individuals may be eligible for a temporary extension. Due to limited State resources, IDHS has determined that individuals entering shelter on or after 11/17/23 will not be eligible for housing resettlement supports at this time.
This comprehensive approach allows asylum seekers the opportunity to access services and stable shelter while they attain long-term housing. By moving asylum seekers through the shelter system faster, there will be available space for families that are currently on the waitlist or are sleeping outside.
The City will continue exploring all options to expand access to temporary shelter, which includes working with aldermen, the State of Illinois, and communities across the city in supporting efforts to move new arrivals indoors and off the floors of O'Hare Airport and police district stations.
Why is the City implementing a 60-day limited stay policy? Why now?
Will residents be eligible for an extension if they have not made other arrangements by the end of their 60-day stay?
- Under extenuating circumstances individuals may be granted temporary extensions. This includes medical crises or extreme cold weather.
- Individuals with a signed lease with a move-in date after the end of their 60-day period may receive an extension until their move-in date.
What type of help will new arrivals receive to support their resettlement?
- Our goal is to leverage all resources to assist with resettlement efforts.
- Rental assistance may be available to eligible households:
- Shelter residents who arrived to shelter on or prior to November 16, 2023, will maintain eligibility to apply for rental assistance.
- Shelter residents who arrived to shelter on or after November 17, 2023, will not be eligible for rental assistance.
All new arrivals will remain eligible for the following resources: IDHS public benefits via Victims of Trafficking, Torture, or other serious Crimes (VTTC), a health home via Cook County Health, assistance with school enrollment at Chicago Public Schools, and other resources and supports available through the Illinois Welcoming Center network: https://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=146538
- In partnership and close coordination with the State of Illinois and our federal partners, the City is quickly ramping up efforts to connect eligible new arrivals to Temporary Protected Status (TPS), Employment Authorization Documents (EAD), and assistance with their asylum case.
- Our combined goal is to assist 11,000 new arrivals with TPS/EAD by February 2024.
When should someone currently in shelter expect to receive their 60-day limited stay notice?
- 60-day notices will be rolled out in phases beginning with those that have been in shelter the longest:
- New arrivals who entered shelter in 2022 will receive a 60-day notice beginning 11/17/2023.
- New arrivals who entered shelter between 1/1/2023 - 7/31/2023 will begin receiving 60-day notices on 12/4/2023.
- New arrivals who entered shelter between 7/31/2023 - 11/16/2023 will begin receiving 60-day notices on 2/1/2024.
- All new arrivals to shelter on or after 11/17/2023 will receive a 60-day notice upon intake.
- To apply for the state’s Asylum Seeker Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ASERAP), a resident must have secured a lease. They may secure a lease in two ways:
- Working with a Catholic Charities Resettlement Case Manager and submitting an ASERAP application with the help of a shelter HSS provider
- Finding their housing, signing a lease on their own, and submitting their ASERAP application via the Fast Track option.
Should residents start looking for housing right away, even if they are not eligible for rental assistance?
If someone has a problem with a landlord, what resources are available? Similarly, if someone needs eviction support, what resources are available?
Are there other rental assistance programs available?
If someone receives a 60-day notice, but is not eligible for rental assistance, are other supports/services available?
- Through support of the State of Illinois, legal services and case management will be available to help individuals apply for Temporary Protected Status, Employment Authorization Documents (EADs), and Asylum. We will connect individuals to other resources as they become available.
- All new arrivals will remain eligible for the following resources: IDHS public benefits via Victims of Trafficking, Torture, or other serious Crimes (VTTC), a health home via Cook County Health, assistance with school enrollment at Chicago Public Schools, and other resources and supports available through the Illinois Welcoming Center network: https://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=146538