Sunday 7 April 2024

Liberal Chicago Suburb of Evanston Wants $20M Grant to Make Abandoned Office Building a Migrant Shelter

 The mayor of the ultra-liberal, near-north Chicago suburb of Evanston wants to apply for a slice of a $20 million county grant to turn an abandoned office building in his city into a new migrant shelter in a bid to help take migrants off the hands of officials in Chicago.

Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss (D) announced his intention to apply to Cook County’s recently created $100 million-dollar “disaster response and recovery” fund, of which $20 million is set aside for migrants, to help him rehab an empty office building near Church Street and Oak Avenue. Biss wants to turn the building into a new migrant transition center and shelter that could house more than 60 illegal border crossers, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The county fund was created in November 2023 to encourage suburbs to step in and offer their jurisdictions to the migrant housing game that is causing the City of Chicago to shell out hundreds of millions of tax dollars.

Biss brought his idea to apply for some of the funds to the Evanston city council hoping to convince them to publicly agree and “buy in” to the idea as a show of unanimous support to bring migrants into the suburbs.

“On the one hand, this could be an asset to the City as we see increased migration for climate or other reasons,” said a memo on the plan. “On the other hand, it could place meaningful strain on the City.”

Biss apparently also wants to serve as a beacon for left-wingers to point to approvingly as they work to push the suburbs to join the effort to take in illegals. The idea has met with stony silence in much of the county. The so-called “disaster response and recovery” fund has been offered since November but few suburbs have stepped up to take advantage of the cash for illegals.

The Evanston plan is still light on specifics, though. The exact costs of a private organization to run this eventual shelter is unknown — though the memo said it might be $2 million annually. On top of that, the costs of adding a fire-suppression system, showers and bathrooms, sleeping areas, and other upgrades to the building are also in question. The costs would obviously range in the millions, and there is no telling just how much of that will be covered by the county funds and how much will fall on the shoulders of the taxpayers of Evanston.

As only about 60 or 65 migrants will be cared for once this facility opens, the whole project does not seem to be all that effective in alleviating the pressure on Chicago for caring for illegals.

“It breaks my heart that it feels like a drop in the bucket,” Evanston policy coordinator Alison Leipsiger admitted. “But also these are 60 people who need a place to stay.”

Still, Evanston is an ultra-liberal suburb, so it seems likely that if Mayor Biss wants this as a political feather in his cap, it will probably come to pass, despite the costs.

The city, which is home to Northwestern University, has pushed far-left ideals before. Only a few years ago, Evanston became the first U.S. city to pass “reparations” for black residents.

Also, back in 2013, the city became one of the few to enact a so-called “assault weapons ban.”

More recently, the left-wing city council floated a resolution demanding a cease fire in Israel as well, a move that sparked an ethics complaint against the city’s Equity and Empowerment Commission.

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