Homeless take refuge in O’Hare International Airport

Recently the amount of homeless people sleeping in O’Hare airport has increased and is gaining public attention.

Due to the cold winter temperatures in Chicago, the homeless are setting up camp and sleeping in hallways, elevators and even bathroom stalls. Airport staff reports human feces in the hallways left behind by the homeless. Many travelers and staff worry about their safety due to the mental state of some homeless in the airport.

According to the New York Post, multiple people have been followed and harassed by the homeless living in the airport. When two female workers were followed by a homeless man they were told by their supervisor to call the police. They responded by saying it was out of their hands and they could not take action unless the women were physically touched by the homeless man.

A civilian told the New York Post that the situation felt “Dystopian.” Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot was interviewed to address the ongoing issue of the homeless in the airport. Lightfoot stated that the city is taking steps to remove the homeless sleeping in the airport saying their presence is a risk to security. Lightfoot went on to say that we can not have homeless people sleeping in the airport and will be continuing within the bounds of the law to remove them from the airports.
According to the Homeless shelter directory, there are 37 Homeless shelters in the Chicago land area; there are also many programs that hand out warm clothes and food to the homeless. Wttw News found that there are approximately 65,000 homeless people living in Chicago in 2020. On average, 3,023 homeless people reside in homeless shelters in Chicago, while 1,454 live on the streets.
Not only are Illinois citizens upset by this but also people from other states. A person that goes by the name of “Hunters Crackpipe” left a comment on the New York Post saying how when Chicago looks like San Francisco it is a bad situation. When tourists visit Chicago, their first sight is the airport which many are now finding uncomfortable to be in.
The Chicago Department of Aviation is continuously looking for a solution for the homeless residing in the airport but not much has come out of the situation yet.