A report says that about 2,500 migrants are living in terrible conditions in Chicago in a building that was once a warehouse but is now a home for migrants.
Rats and cockroaches are said to be living in the shelter, along with rotting food and trash, bad water quality, and open sewage problems, according to a story from Chicago’s WTTW.
Emails sent to Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson in October showed that people were unhappy with the shelter in the 2200 block at South Halsted Avenue. These emails were sent before the event in December, when a child got sick at the shelter and died at Comer Children’s Hospital.
In the days after the child died, a number of other refugees at the same site got sick. The child’s cause of death has still not been released by the city.
WTTW said that an email from Oct. was sent to city hall to let Mayor Johnson’s staff know about how bad things were at the shelter. Nicole Lee, an alderwoman for the 11th Ward, is said to have sent it.
The station first asked for the emails through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), but what they got were papers that had almost all of the information blacked out. But the government watchdog group FOIA Bakery got the messages that hadn’t been changed and gave them to the station.
“The parts that have been redacted say that the shelter did not have enough bathrooms, had exposed pipes with raw sewage, cockroaches, and food and water that were not enough for everyone,” WTTW stated.
More emails showed that city officials had answered the emails and were working to make sure the conditions were met.
The alderwoman told the station that she “remains concerned about such living conditions within the shelter.”
“Openness about the conditions in these shelters is very important, and we will keep pushing for accountability to make sure that the people in our care are treated with the respect that everyone deserves,” Lee said in a statement.
A company called Favorite Staffing has a deal with the city to take care of the shelter.
The station heard from Favorite Staffing VP Keenan Driver, who said that they take the reports “very seriously.”
Driver said in his statement, “Favorite Staffing takes all complaints seriously because we care about the well-being of our own staff as well as the migrants.”
The city said in a statement that it is aware of the reports and that changes are being made.
(The Guardian) The statement also said that “because of the rapid growth of this shelter population, the city had to make improvements to the shelter while, at the same time, taking in hundreds of new arrivals.”
At the same time, the city keeps hiring more private groups to aid and care for the large number of illegals coming into the city because of President Joe Biden’s border problem.
In January, the city announced a new deal with a company linked to the popular local fast food chain Buona Beef to give food to thousands of illegals staying in city shelters.
The city gave a $57 million job to a company named 14 Parish and a $45 million job to Seventy-Seven Communities to give food to migrants.
The head of Seventy-Seven Communities is Joe Buonavolanto Jr., who is one of the sons of the father of Buona Beef. Book Club Chicago says that Mike Iovinelli, who is the head of Seventy-Seven and the vice president of Buona Beef’s catering company, Beyond Catering, is also connected to the restaurant. Buonavolanto is not the only person connected to Buona Beef.
In a press statement from the city, it was said that Seventy-Seven Communities had been providing good meals around Chicago for decades and had experience making special menus for groups with complicated needs, like Chicago School students.
Ronnie Reese, a spokesman for the mayor, said that the city did not leave out the Buona Beef connection on purpose in its news releases about the contracts.
But the mistake happened at a time when more people are calling for openness about how the mayor’s office spends money and signs contracts.