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The number of homeless seeking refuge at Chicago’s O’Hare airport has risen dramatically in recent months, and now encampments are appearing inside terminals, causing workers and passengers to fear for their safety. Vonkisha Chatman, a custodian who works the overnight shift in Terminal 1 and 2, told CBS News, “It’s out of control. None of us feel safe.”
@chicagosmayor please clean up this city! This is the current state of O’hare airport, homeless everywhere, sleeping all over terminal 2 and getting in peoples faces yelling. This is the first impression people get when they land in this city. #CleanChicago #ORD pic.twitter.com/YUvIafUxK5
— Natasha Patel (@patel_n) February 6, 2023
Another custodian, Catherine Thompson, said that it’s her and Chatman’s job to clean up the mess, but she doesn’t feel like she’s protected:
“They will come up behind you. This one man followed us last night,” Thompson said. “From the time we get here until the time we leave in the morning, they will be here.”
The custodians’ managers tell them to be aware and call police. But police tell the custodians that officers can’t intervene unless someone is physically touched.
Haymarket Center is a non-profit dedicated to preventing substance abuse. It has an outreach program at O’Hare, and its clinical director says the homeless numbers are rising because there’s no room left at the shelters: “They’re full,” she says. “The shelters are full.”
Here are some of the scenes passengers are encountering:
Critics ripped into the Windy City’s progressive mayor, Lori Lightfoot:
“She pounds her fists at a podium and says ‘We’re gonna do this and we’re gonna do that’ for public safety — and it doesn’t get done,” said Proft, who hosts the Windy City radio show AM 560 The Answer.
“The situation at O’Hare is unprecedented,” he added. “It’s as bad as [Chicagoans] can remember in terms of quality of life issues.”
Mayor Lightfoot’s Chicago, America.
A once beautiful city, Chicago has become a boarded up, crime infested, and filthy city under Lightfoot’s Progressivism.
Filthy homeless encampment is set up INSIDE Chicago’s O’Hare Airport https://t.co/kx9KX1zO7r via @MailOnline
— Jack Lombardi II (@JackLombardi) February 15, 2023
Lightfoot wasn’t swayed:
When asked for comment by The [NY] Post, the Mayor’s Office emailed a statement from the Chicago Department of Aviation that said: “The CDA is aware of the increasing population of unsheltered individuals at O’Hare International Airport. It’s a common occurrence at this airport and airports nationwide when temperatures drop in the winter months.”
It is true that this is hardly the first time homeless people have taken shelter in airports. However, it is not common to see scenes like this: a man “collapsed inside an entrance vestibule, another slumped over with no shoes on and a group of half a dozen people who have taken over an indoor area next to the escalators.”
Here’s how one traveler described their experience:
‘I flew back to O’Hare, Terminal 3, last week. I had never seen such a homeless problem, in baggage, in the 50 years I have lived in Cook Co,’ they wrote.
‘It’s not even that cold out! Also, aggressively hit-up with ‘ya need a ride?’ in baggage. It was dystopian.’
Homelessness has been increasing across America for years—with Los Angeles, New York City, Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco serving as the poster children for the decline of our cities. There are no easy answers, as billions of dollars have been thrown at the problem with little to show for them.
One thing is clear, however— progressive policies simply aren’t working.
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