41st Ward Ald. Napolitano one of 3 who delay vote on $51 million for migrant resources, but City Council expected to approve on May 31
by BRIAN NADIG
Northwest Side Alderman Anthony Napolitano (41st) was one of three aldermen at the City Council’s May 24 meeting who delayed a vote on a $51 million allocation for shelters and supplies for asylum seekers in Chicago.
Napolitano said that the city has thousands of homeless and others, including veterans and seniors, who have been waiting years for adequate housing and other resources and he questions why the funding would be used only for the newly arrived migrants, most of who have been bused or flown to Chicago from Texas after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Many of them are from Venezuela.
“They can’t use the funds for (our longtime homeless). They say that is a different bucket of money they’d have to look for,” Napolitano said. “To me, that’s wrong.”
Napolitano said that the funding proposal, which involves the city’s surplus funds, will undoubtedly get approved at the council’s special May 31 meeting.
However, he said that he hopes the postponement will generate more dialogue about homeless and migrant issues, including how the city is going to continue to fund shelters and supplies for the new arrivals. It is estimated that the $51 million would run out within 45 to 60 days.
Napolitano along with aldermen Ray Lopez (15th) and Anthony Beale (9th) used a “defer and publish” procedural maneuver to delay the vote. It allows any two aldermen to postpone a vote until the next meeting, although the tactic can only be used once on a specific issue.
Lopez tweeted the following on Thursday: “Migrants first arrived here in August 2022. Lightfoot and her council enablers have spent over $110 million of Chicago taxpayer funds so far on what specifically no one will say. With no plan and no answers, the socialists and gaslighters want $51 million more through the next two months.”
After the May 24 meeting, Beale reportedly told reporters that the city has seniors who have been waiting years to get off public housing waitlists but the city found $51 million to “throw away” for new arrivals, according to a published report in the Chicago Tribune. “You might as well as take that $51 million and set a match to it because it’s going to be burned up (or used up in 45 days),” he told the Tribune.
Alderman Nicholas Sposato (38th), who voted against the $51 million allocation in a committee vote earlier this month, said that the proposal should pass with at least 40 “yes” votes at the May 31 meeting, although he plans to be one of the “no” votes.
“It should be for all homeless people … including our veterans,” Sposato said.
The vote delay is not expected to postpone the city’s plans to house migrant families for the next two months at Wright College, 4300 N. Narragansett Ave., Sposato said. The first families could start to move in as early as Saturday, May 27.