This Spring, fourteen committed neighbors have met in two post-Covid "reboot" visioning meetings for our project. Attendees included members of charter organizations, as well as new volunteers excited about moving forward.
We picked up on the core values of the 2018 seed grant and the charter members who launched Bridging Jefferson Park in 2019. We reviewed the initial projects of that year and 2020 fundraising, then asked the question: Do these visions still resonate?
We recommit to this: Understanding our neighbors of today, and our own and these neighbors' needs!
To that end, we agreed to a specific new initiative of commitment to respond to our unhoused neighbors in Jefferson Park and the surrounding areas. This includes, but is not limited to, the present and growing needs of the asylum seekers and other refugees whose numbers are growing in a city unprepared for them. A number of committed neighbors are working in partnership with the 16th District of CPD; we will focus our energy, at least in the short term, on this local need. As of May 6, 2023, these are our agreements:
- Bridging Jefferson Park will contribute as we can to the immediate need and, potentially, in coordination of longer-term planning with other service providers.
- We will create a fundraising mechanism to receive donations toward the food and supplies being collected to aid in refugees' basic needs and readiness for transition to greater stability.
- We will explore and help to create various educational opportunities to aid neighbors in understanding these crises, the rights of all those affected, and the best ways to "help neighbors who care to care better" (as Rep. Lindsey LaPointe often says).
- We will coordinate with and receive funds to be used collaboratively with the NW side group "Working Group on Homelessness in Jefferson Park.*
We understand this work will intersect with other needs, such as mental health awareness and support, and we will collaborate on opportunities to support this too.
We will retain current funds of BJP, approximately $800, for work on broader projects related to neighborhood history, literacy and community-building.
*100 percent of funds given to Bridging Jefferson Park for 2023-2024 support of unhoused neighbors will be used to support materials, education, and staff support necessary for execution.
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More federal assistance could be coming to Chicago to help with the migrant crisis as families wait for shelter space in police stations.