Press Release - Friday, September 29, 2023
Gov. Pritzker Announces $41.5 Million in Grant Awards for Municipalities Serving Asylum Seekers
Funds will be used for shelter and housing support, food, wraparound services, legal support, and health care
CHICAGO - Governor JB Pritzker announced today $41.5 million in awards to local governments in the Chicago region that are welcoming asylum seekers. The funds will make it possible for municipalities to provide direct services to migrants who have fled their homes to escape violence and other threats. The funds will be used for shelter and housing support, food, wraparound services, legal support, and health care.
"Illinois is a welcoming state, and we have stepped up to aid asylum seekers who have undertaken a dangerous and trying journey to try and build a better life for themselves and their families," said Governor JB Pritzker. "Although we will still need significant federal support as this crisis continues, these grants will empower local governments to build out services and supports for new arrivals so we can successfully transition them into our state and give them the opportunity to complete their legal asylum process."
"In Illinois, we recognize the humanity of everyone and reject fearmongering and cruelty toward those seeking asylum," said Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton. "Through this funding, our administration is reaffirming our commitment to being a welcoming state because our diversity makes us stronger."
It has been more than a year since Illinois started to receive buses from Texas governments, transporting migrants from the southern border who are seeking asylum in the United States. Since August 31, 2022, without notice, Illinois has welcomed over 15,000 new arrivals, primarily from Central and South America. To date, the state has contributed $328 million overall to support asylum seekers.
The Illinois General Assembly and Gov. Pritzker appropriated $42,500,000 from the General Revenue Fund to the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) in the Fiscal Year 2024 budget to provide support to local municipalities for the provision of basic services to new arrivals. To distribute the funds, IDHS is partnering with the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus (MMC), which provides management oversight in the form of a competitive Notice of Funding Opportunity process. MMC aims to work past geographical boundaries to build collaboration around public policy issues, with a common goal of improving the quality of life for the millions of people who live in the region.
"We were honored to play a role in this process, so that the recipients can receive much needed funding," said Executive Director of the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, Neil James. "We understand the importance of providing support services for this vulnerable population."
Municipalities receiving funding include:
• City of Chicago: $30.25 million
• Joliet Township: $8.6 million
• City of Elgin: $1.27 million
• Lake County: $1 million
• City of Urbana: $250,000
• Village of Oak Park: $150,000
"The commitments announced today will strengthen the support provided to asylum seekers in Illinois," said Grace B. Hou, Secretary, Illinois Department of Human Services. "We are grateful to every municipality that applied for this funding. Today's awards demonstrate our commitment to assisting recent arrivals from the southern border with the resources that they need to be successful."