Devon Reid.

A proposal from Ald. Devon Reid (8th) to create a special city fund to aid Ukrainian refugees went down to defeat Monday night.

During call of the wards, as the City Council meeting was coming to a close near 11 p.m., Reid sought to place a special order of business on the Council’s April 25 agenda to create such a fund — which he suggested should be budgeted at $75,000.

He offered no specifics about how the funds would be spent, what groups the city might work with to distribute the funds, or how eligibility would be determined.

The motion to place the proposal on the agenda failed on a 4-3 vote with only Alds. Bobby Burns (5th) and Juan Geracaris (9th) joining Reid in supporting it.

Ald. Eleanor Revelle (7th) was absent from the meeting and Ald. Tom Suffredin (6th) was not on the dais when the vote was taken.

Last Thursday Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, during a video conversation with the mayor of Warsaw, Poland, said Chicago is preparing to “ease the burden” being experienced Warsaw of caring for 300,000 Ukrainian refugees by accepting and caring for its own influx of mothers and children fleeing the war with Russia.

President Biden says the U.S. has agreed to accept up to 100,000 people escaping from the war. Resettlement is typically a lengthy process and could take as much as a year. Refugees typically move to locations that already have substantial concentrations of their countrymen.

About 1.2% of Chicagoans were born in Poland and less than 0.3% were born in Ukraine.

The comparable numbers for Evanston are 0.2% from Poland and 0.2% from Ukraine, based on the latest estimates from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

Before the Council vote was taken Mayor Daniel Biss suggested that the better alternative for considering the issue would be to have it referred to a City Council committee, an option that Reid rejected, claiming the matter was not a policy issue that should be referred to committee.

Reid said the amount of aid he was proposing was “almost a rounding error in the grand scheme of things” in the city budget.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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2 Comments

  1. Any proposal like this with zero preparation or plan is more for agenda purposes rather than an actual concern for the ones in need. I’m yet to see any proposal that is funded by cost reduction rather than a tax hike, not to mention the lack of follow up/ROI on all the investments made so far.

  2. — Refugees typically move to locations that already have substantial concentrations of their countrymen.

    About 1.2% of Chicagoans were born in Poland and less than 0.3% were born in Ukraine. —

    Pretty big numbers. It is reasonable to expect that Chicago will be the epicenter of the Ukranian refugee crisis in the US. The internet says that one third of Polish immigrants live in the Chicago area. Nearly 2 million ethnic Poles (aprox 7% of the City of Chicago). We should welcome their Ukranian neighbors with open arms. We could benefit from a bit more global flavor around here.

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