Lake County and the city of Elgin will receive $1 million each to support asylum-seekers.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently announced nearly $42 million in awards to local governments welcoming migrants fleeing violence and other threats, mostly from countries south of the U.S. border. The funds will be used for shelter and housing support, food, wraparound services, legal support and health care.
“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,” Pritzker said.
Illinois started to receive buses last year, most sent by the state of Texas, carrying migrants who arrived at the southern border seeking asylum.
Since Aug. 31, 2022, the state has welcomed more than 15,000 new arrivals, primarily from Central and South America. The state has since spent $328 million to support asylum-seekers.
To distribute the latest round of funding, the Illinois Department of Human Services is partnering with the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, which provides management oversight.
“We understand the importance of providing support services for this vulnerable population,” said caucus Executive Director Neil James.
Lake County is expected to receive about $1 million from the program, while Elgin will get about $1.27 million. Other municipalities receiving funding are Chicago, at $30.25 million, and Oak Park, $150,000.
Elgin will distribute the funds to three community agencies with long-standing services: Centro de Información, Food for Greater Elgin and Well Child Center.
Centro de Información will use the money to provide critical wraparound services, legal and rental assistance. Food for Greater Elgin will use the funds to provide access to healthy and nutritious food, and Well Child Center will provide essential health care services for women and children.
“We are excited about this opportunity because it provides us the means to more effectively assist those who need our services,” Dianha Ortega-Ehreth, Centro de Información executive director. “This additional funding is critical to the work we do each and every day.”