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Chicago officials say spike is expected in migrant arrivals -- how will it be paid for?

Tracking the cost of the migrant crisis in Chicago
Tracking the cost of the migrant crisis in Chicago 02:42

CHICAGO (CBS) -- New data shine a light on just how much Chicago has been spending to support the migrant mission so far.

Just over 13,000 asylum seekers are living in city shelters – and city officials said they are preparing for a spike. But it not clear how the city would pay for such a spike.

If it feels confusing tracking the spending – the amount of money the city has spent, the amount the state has given, and how much the federal government has contributed – that is because it is, in fact, confusing.

The city has been trying to save money where it can. But right now, the city cannot seem to get the numbers to add up.

"Currently, actually every day, we're on meetings; on calls with the state and with the county to figure out what the long-term plan is to get through the calendar year together," said Cristina Pacione-Zayas, deputy chief of staff for Mayor Brandon Johnson.

In a migrant briefing this week, city leaders were asked – once again – about their plans to pay for the migrant crisis once the money runs out.

New numbers show the city has spent $194.5 million on migrant-related vendors from October 2022 to the present month. That does not include the cost of city agencies and their work in the migrant mission – like how much it cost to educate school-aged new arrivals.

Of those vendors, the Kansas-based company, Favorite Healthcare Staffing, continues to be the highest paid – making $126 million since the mission started.

The cost was paid mostly by the State of Illinois. The remainder was also split between the city and federal government.

A few days ago, the city amended its contract with Favorite Staffing for a second time. Now, their contract is for approximately $150 million over the course of one year – notable because in the city's budget, also $150 million, is the figure allocated for the entire fiscal year.

The city is hoping the state and federal government step in.

Gov. JB Pritzker has said he has plans to put about 2,000 beds at an unspecified location – and it also remains unclear when that will happen.

When asked if that act from the state would be something the city would look at to help alleviate spending, Pacione-Zayas said, "We're currently in discussions about how they might be able to apply that – whether it is standing up a new shelter inside or outside of Chicago, or if it's taking over the costs of shelters in Chicago."

The city estimates that it has been able to cut food costs down by using new vendors – from around $22 per day to about $16 per day, per person. But again, this represents a drop in the bucket 

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