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City of Chicago has budgeted $235 million on health care staffing firm tasked with helping migrants

Another hike in Chicago budget for migrant crisis
Another hike in Chicago budget for migrant crisis 02:07

CHICAGO (CBS) -- CBS 2 has learned the City of Chicago has upped its budget with Favorite Healthcare Staffing – the firm it has used to care for new migrant arrivals – by $85 million.

This is the third time the city has increased its budget for the company.

Some alderpeople said they did not even know another increase in the health care staffing firm budget was happening before CBS 2 called them and informed them.

The Kansas-based Favorite Healthcare Staffing was hired to help care for new arrivals at city shelters with a one-year contract for up to $40 million. This contract was for care between October of last year and October of this year.

In December, the amount increased by $30,252,882. In January, it increased by $79,386,200. Now, there has been another quiet increase – by another up to $85 million.

This brings the total spending for one year, with one vendor, to $234,639,082.

For a point of comparison, that is approximately half the budget for base salaries at the Chicago Fire Department for 2024. That budget is $495,830,394.

"To have numbers just pop up in sizable contracts for tens of millions of dollars - executed really with any outside oversight - is problematic," said David Greising, president of the Better Government Association. "A lot of times, the city contracts with a vendor - and the source of funds can come from multiple places, including the state and the federal government. But the city is the responsible party."

Chicago city leaders increase spending for migrant health care again 02:26

Previously, the federal and Illinois state governments have fronted most of the bill for Favorite Staffing. However, when CBS 2 reached out to the state, they would not elaborate on who might pay for the additional increase.

The healthcare firm itself also pointed CBS 2 in the direction of the Mayor's office.

"Whether the city is paying that, the state is paying for that, or even the federal government is paying for it, we would like to see controls in place to make certain that taxpayers are not being taken advantage of," said Greising.      

The Mayor's office said the increase is included as part of the city's own budget, and alders were briefed.

But some alderpeople have called for greater transparency on migrant spending – saying they feel they are the last to know about important updates.

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