Statement from Ald. Vasquez on the Decompression of the 20th District Police Station

Loudspeakers and Public Statement on red background

Dear Neighbors,

As of Tuesday, December 12th, the 20th District Police Station was officially decompressed, and all new arrivals have been taken to shelters.

We are so grateful to the 20th District Police for taking on the challenge of housing new arrivals who had nowhere else to go in their workspace—which was no small ask, in addition to all of the other responsibilities on their plate––and to every single neighbor who stepped up in so many ways to care for those who came to us seeking help.

We started receiving people at the police station over a year ago, in the summer of 2022. That means for over a year now, volunteers from the 20th District Mutual Aid and Latino Treatment Center have been showing up every single day to take care of new arrivals to our community. From day one, neighbors showed up to support new arrivals with bedding, clothes, and medication. They worked with them to enroll their kids in school. They did laundry. They provided breakfast and lunch every single day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

As if that weren’t enough, they also worked with mutual aid groups across the city to collect and distribute donations to help new arrivals not just in our community, but across Chicago.

I am staggered and deeply humbled by the generosity, compassion, and fierce drive that our neighbors have shown. During a time when so many were focused only on the logistics of the crisis, they never lost sight, not for one moment, of the humanity of every single person who came to our city seeking help. They have been tireless in their support and we owe them a debt of gratitude that our city will never be able to repay.

Chicago’s commitment to being a welcoming city has been tested in new ways this past year, and our resilience and willpower will continue to be tested in the months to come, as forces inside and outside our city seek to divide us and turn us against those who have come to us for help. But I know we can rise to the challenge, because I have been reminded of our capacity to do so, over and over again, by the dedication of those in our community who kept showing up.

I want to thank every single person in our community who has showed up in the past year: from the mutual aid volunteers who showed up every day to support new arrivals, to the restaurants who donated meals, to the school teachers who have worked to integrate new arrivals into the classroom, to the police officers who made room to shelter new arrivals when there was no other shelter available, to the community members who have donated coats, blankets, and so much more.

There is much more work to be done. 20th District Mutual Aid and Latino Treatment Center will continue collecting winter gear donations to support new arrivals, and Latino Treatment Center will continue to be open to new arrivals seeking resources. If you are interested in supporting that work, you can sign up to volunteer or donate.

As the City of Chicago shift its strategy away from basecamps and towards brick-and-mortar shelters, we’re also committed to continuing to work with them to find potential spaces in our community to provide shelter for those who need it.

While our work is never done, I know we will continue to rise up to meet it. Chicago truly is the City of Big Shoulders, and no one’s shoulders have carried more than the neighbors who have worked tirelessly to support new arrivals this past year. I am and will always be deeply grateful for every single person who reminded us, through their efforts, of what we are capable of when we work together.

Yours in Service and Community,

Signature of Andre Vasquez

Alderperson Andre Vasquez, 40th Ward