Chicago mayor says migrants being housed at Chicago Park District facilities being moved beginning Saturday

CHICAGO — Mayor Brandon Johnson’s administration announced that on Saturday it will begin removing nearly 800 migrants, including men, women and children, being housed inside five Chicago Park District facilities across the city.

The use of the five field houses where migrants will be cleared — Gage Park and Piotrowski Park, both on the Southwest Side, the Broadway Armory Park and Leone Park, both on the Far North Side, and Brands Park on the Northwest Side — has generated significant controversy in the neighborhoods where they are located. The city was placing migrants in park district space that is traditionally used for athletic and enrichment activities.

In announcing the decision Monday, city officials said that they anticipate full summer programming to return to those locations.

Migrants, most sent on buses from Texas, will be “transitioned to nearby shelters, minimizing disruptions with schooling and work,” according to a news release from Johnson’s administration. City agencies will prioritize moving migrants to shelters that are close by and children are expected to remain in the same schools.

The most recent city census of where migrants are being housed show that as of Friday there were 109 migrant family members at Brands Park, 3259 N. Elston Ave., 208 family members at Broadway Armory, – 5917 N. Broadway St., 279 single adults at Gage Park, 2411 W. 55th St., 57 single adults at the Leone Boathouse, 1222 W. Touhy Ave., and 142 migrant family members at Piotrowski Park, 4247 W. 31st St.

There are currently over 10,500 migrants in 23 shelters run by the city and state, down from a peak of 14,900 in December. Several buses were expected to drop off more people over the coming weekend.

The Johnson administration said the housing operation for migrants at field houses would not have been possible without support from aldermen. But last summer, many aldermen said they were not looped into the process of deciding where and how to best house migrants in their ward.

Of the six field houses that were transitioned to provide temporary housing for migrants starting in May 2023, one shelter in North Park was already dismantled in February to be used as an early voting site, officials said.

The Park District will help facilitate the process to ensure the facilities are ready to resume programming. Officials will return equipment, help with repairs and update program registration systems.