Nov. 21, 2023 – The Village of Oak Park Board of Trustees approved a motion at its regular meeting Monday night (Nov. 20) to reallocate $500,000 in unspent American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding as lost revenue in the general fund to be directed to providing aid to asylum seekers through February 6, 2024.
The funding to support asylum seekers in Oak Park is added to a pool of $550,000 that had been established previously, bringing the overall total to $1.05 million. That includes $400,000 in Supporting Municipalities for Asylum Seeker Services (SMASS) grants and $650,000 in ARPA funding as lost revenue in the Village’s general fund. The first allocation by the Board of $150,000 was made during its regular meeting on Oct. 30.
In a separate action, a resolution declaring an emergency disaster through February 6, 2024 was also approved by Board vote as the meeting bled into Tuesday morning. Previously, the Board unanimously approved a resolution declaring an emergency disaster during its emergency meeting on Nov. 2. That order, which was to expire on Dec. 4, is rescinded immediately in favor of the new declaration. This resolution calls for the temporary suspension of purchasing requirements such as formal bidding procedures and Board contract approvals when quick action is deemed necessary and when it is impractical to convene a Board meeting.
Currently, the Village of Oak Park is officially supporting 162 asylum seekers residing in the community, including 57 children under the age of 18. More than half of those individuals (89) are sheltering at The Carleton Hotel of Oak Park, while 55 are currently housed at the West Cook YMCA. Eighteen (18) individuals are also staying at Grace Episcopal Church with the support of volunteers.
Official information about the efforts to assist asylum-seeking migrants in Oak Park is available at www.oak-park.us/emergencyresponse23.
About Oak Park
The Village of Oak Park, located just nine miles west of downtown Chicago, offers a distinctive urban/suburban lifestyle in a thriving, multi-cultural community. Well-known for progressive values, tree-lined streets and bustling business districts, Oak Park serves as an ideal place to live, work and play. As a longstanding community of choice, the Village benefits from convenient access to local and regional transit, high-quality public schools, and arts and cultural attractions, including Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio and his acclaimed United Temple, which was recently designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.