Chicago, IL

Businesses in Chicago's West Loop Building Forced to Leave so Migrants Can Move in

Natalie Frank, Ph.D.

Migrant families recently arrived in Chicago have been moving into West Loop building since Friday replacing business tenants
West Loop area of ChicagoPhoto byEric Rojas [CC BY 3.0]

Owners of eight businesses operating in a West Loop building in Chicago have voiced their concerns, alleging that they are being forced to vacate the premises to make way for migrants.

The controversy revolves around a building situated in Chicago's West Loop area near Ogden and Carroll, where eight businesses have been operating. These businesses claim that they are facing eviction due to the arrival of migrants in the vicinity. While specific details about the number of migrants moving in and the purpose of their occupation remain undisclosed, it has caused upheaval among local enterprises.

The city held a community gathering on Monday to discuss the shelter, attracting approximately 100 residents who gathered at the Union Park Gym to express their frustration. Along with the idea people begin evicted from their place of business by force in favor turning it into space for migrants, their primary concern was the insufficient advance notification that everyone had received. Cristina Pacione-Zayas, the mayor's chief of staff, acknowledged that they had limited alternatives in this matter.

Workers who have been reporting to the office mentioned that they've had to carry out their job duties amidst the disruptive sounds of ongoing construction as they readied the building for migrant families. They said that there are intentions to relocate their business to a different area in city Chicago, but they said that this transition shouldn't be necessary and is an unfair burden on their expenses and time.

"None of the employees are happy with it," one employee said. "It depends where you live, but I'd guess it adds, for the majority of people, an hour on your commute in the morning and afternoon. So, it's really just untimely, unfortunate."

There are already two other migrant shelters up and running in Chicago's West Loop not far from where the new one is. One is close to the 300 block of S Halsted while the other is on W Walnut St around a mile and a half away. About 100 people are being housed in each of these shelters.

Residents around the area have gone from concerned to angry and have started to push back regarding how the city is handling migrants in their area.

"I'd like to see a more organized effort, not put everywhere around the city," said Brian Flanagan, a local resident who works close to the new shelter. "They're talking about putting tents up and things like that. I think there's much better solutions."

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