Watch CBS News

Chicago signs $29 million contract with security firm to set up winterized tent "base camps" for migrants

City signs contract to set up base camps for asylum seekers
City signs contract to set up base camps for asylum seekers 00:31

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Mayor Brandon Johnson's administration has signed a $29.3 million contract with a private security firm to help set up "winterized base camps" of large military-style tents to help house hundreds of migrants, and get them out of police stations.

The contract with GardaWorld Federal Services LLC was signed on Sept. 12, and would allow the city to purchase "temporary housing solutions and related services … to provide critical services to asylum seekers," according to city records.

The contract does not include any specific locations for the tent encampments, but last week, Ald. Ronnie Mosley (21st) held a community meeting in the Roseland neighborhood to discuss a proposal to turn an empty parking lot near 115th and Halsted into a base camp for up to 1,400 asylum seekers.

Migrant tent base camp aerial
Aerial image of an example of winterized tent base camps proposed for housing hundreds of asylum seekers in Chicago. City of Chicago

City officials have said the priority for the base camps would be to relocate migrants who have been sleeping on the floors of police stations, but Roseland residents said the community is already in a crisis and adding migrants into their neighborhood would make things worse.

The mayor hopes the base camps will solve overcrowding issues with migrants living at Chicago police stations. It's supposed to be a temporary solution to the ongoing crisis with migrant housing.

The GardaWorld contract includes diagrams of the layouts for rows of soft-sided, rectangular, "yurt style" tents that can house 12 people each. The tents would include 12 cots capable of holding up to 500 pounds, and foot lockers for each cot.

Migrant tent base camp diagram
A diagram in GardaWorld Federal Services LLC's contract with the city of Chicago shows an example of a tent base camp aimed at housing hundreds of migrants. City of Chicago

According to the contract, the base camps would also have one toilet and handwash station for every 20 people, as well as one shower for every 25 people.

The camps would also include heating and air conditioning systems, medical isolation tents, laundry facilities, dining areas, and mobile kitchen units in large trailers - featuring stoves, griddles, ovens, and refrigerators. Pump systems also would be set up to provide drinkable water, along with sanitation tents hooked up to the city's water and sewer system.

The contract does not include any details on when any specific base camps would be built.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.