Letter to the Mayor Calling for End of 60 Day Policy

Public statement on teal background with loudspeaker graphic and logo of Ald. Vasquez

March 11, 2024

Mayor Brandon Johnson

Office of the Mayor

121 N. LaSalle Street, Chicago IL

Re : 60 Day New Arrival Shelter Eviction Policy

Amidst a broken immigration system, federal inaction, the influx of 36,000 new arrivals since August 2022—with 12,000 of them living in shelters—our city and your administration has acted true to its values, working tirelessly to provide emergency shelter to all new Chicagoans in need. However, as the first 60 Day Shelter Eviction Policy deadline approaches on March 16th, your office risks cutting against Chicago’s values and severely harming the same new arrivals Chicago has worked diligently to care for. We need an end to this policy, as it doesn’t solve our challenges, it merely exacerbates and displaces them.

We, the undersigned, urge you and your administration to prevent this harm, remain true to Chicago’s values, and replace the 60 Day Eviction Policy with one that addresses shelter stays on a case-by-case basis, in a manner that provides the support and dignity any of us would want in a similar situation.

If the 60 Day Eviction Policy is enforced, the majority of new arrivals—who cannot yet secure work or housing—will face involuntary shelter exits, interruption to community integration, and potentially unsheltered homelessness. What we have also now seen after this weekend is that there are public health concerns that could be exacerbated if people who have no rental assistance, no work authorization, and significant language barriers are put out on the street. 

Without federal action or a renewal of the State’s rental assistance program, new arrivals currently in shelters face enormous barriers to accessing work permits and housing. 80% of new arrivals in shelters cannot access work authorization, and 50% in shelters cannot access rental assistance. It is unreasonable to expect new arrivals without the ability to work and without rental assistance to secure housing within 60 days.

A shelter eviction needlessly disrupts and slows new arrivals’ paths to self sufficiency and integration. New arrivals will be separated from their case managers, their support systems, their neighborhoods, and their children’s schools, only to have to rebuild these relationships anew. Additionally, new arrivals risk severed communication with immigration agencies, which could have serious consequences, including removal proceedings. 

The 60 Day Eviction Policy will leave new arrivals unmoored and in need of more support; as a result, community organizations, mutual aid groups, and ward offices—all of whom are already working at maximum capacity—will be further strained by managing the upheaval. 

Furthermore, we are concerned that after an involuntary exit, new arrivals who have been offered no substantial path toward work authorization or housing within shelters will elect to live on the street. Homelessness will cause severe harm to new arrivals – research shows that the trauma of experiencing homelessness can lead to mental health problems and substance use disorders. To abandon new arrivals to homelessness is to fail Chicago’s values. Addressing the increase in homelessness and other consequences of such a policy would also cost the city more in the long run.

To address the current barriers to work authorization and housing, and to prevent significant harm from the 60 Day Eviction Policy, we urge the following:

  • The Office of the Mayor ends its harmful 60 Day Eviction policy, and replaces it with one that sets shelter stays on a case-by-case basis. Shelter stays must provide enough time for new arrivals to progress toward securing work and housing. This length of time must be informed by each new arrival’s circumstances and available opportunities. 
  • We partner with you to also call on the State of Illinois to reallocate funds to the Asylum Seeker Rental Assistance Program (ASERAP), to provide rental assistance and faster resettle new arrivals into our communities. To provide adequate stability and decrease the risk of evictions and homelessness, ASERAP grants should be restored to six months of rental assistance.
  • We partner with you to call on President Biden to expand parole and issue work permits for all new arrivals and all undocumented workers through executive order, allowing immigrants to increase their self-sufficiency and contribute to our economy. We understand that Chicago funded emergency shelter is not the solution to this crisis. True solutions must come from the federal government. 

Through the current humanitarian crisis, Chicago and your office have shown the nation and the world how to lead with compassion. We must continue to do so and require our partners in government to do the same—this moment demands it. 

Signature of Andre Vasquez

Andre Vasquez, Chair

Committee on Immigrant & Refugee Rights

Alderpersons and City Officials

  • Alderperson La Spata, 1st Ward
  • Alderperson Chico, 10th Ward
  • Alderperson Lee, 11th Ward
  • Alderperson Ramirez, 12th Ward
  • Alderperson Gutierrez, 14th Ward 
  • Alderperson O’Shea, 19th Ward
  • Alderperson Taylor, 20th Ward
  • Alderperson Rodriguez, 22nd Ward
  • Alderperson Sigcho Lopez, 25th Ward
  • Alderperson Fuentes, 26th Ward
  • Alderperson Waguespack, 32nd Ward
  • Alderperson Rodriguez Sanchez, 33rd Ward
  • Alderperson Conway, 34th Ward
  • Alderperson Villegas, 36th Ward
  • Alderperson Nugent, 39th Ward
  • Alderperson Lawson, 44th Ward
  • Alderperson Clay, 46th Ward
  • Alderperson Martin, 47th Ward
  • Alderperson Manaa-Hoppenworth, 48th Ward
  • Alderperson Hadden, 49th Ward
  • Alderperson Silverstein, 50th Ward
  • City Clerk Anna Valencia

Community Organizations

  • ALMAS- Alliance of Latinos Motivating Action in the Suburbs
  • ALSO
  • Bethany House of Hospitality
  • Brighton Park Neighborhood Council
  • Centro Romero 
  • Centro de Trabajadores Unidos 
  • Chicago4All
  • Chinese Mutual Aid Association
  • Coalition of Haitian American Organizations in the Chicagoland Area
  • Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community
  • Enlace Chicago 
  • Erie Neighborhood House
  • Family Focus
  • Family Focus Evanston
  • First Immanuel Lutheran Church
  • HANA Center
  • Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters, JPIC-USA
  • Iglesia Cristiana La Vida
  • Illinois Community for Displaced Immigrants
  • Illinois Latino Agenda 
  • Illinois Venezuelan Alliance
  • Illinois Workers in action 
  • Indo American Center
  • Instituto Del Progreso Latino
  • Latino Policy Forum
  • Latino Treatment Center
  • Metropolitan Family Services 
  • Metropolitan Peace Initiatives
  • Middle Eastern Immigrant and Refugee Alliance
  • NAMI Chicago
  • National Immigrant Justice Center
  • Onward Neighborhood House 
  • ONE Northside
  • Panas en Chicago
  • Project H.O.O.D.
  • Provincial Council of St. Viator
  • Pui Tak Center
  • Rincon Family Services
  • Sanctuary Working Group 
  • Sanctuary Working Group at Wellington UCC
  • Sisters and Brothers of Immigrants
  • Syrian Community Network
  • United African Organization 
  • Urban Environmentalists Illinois
  • Viator House of Hospitality 
  • World Relief Chicagoland

Police District Councils

  • 20th Police District Council
  • 24th Police District Council
  • 12th Police District Council
  • 19th Police District Council
  • 14th Police District Council