Amid a growing population of homeless people taking refuge in Chicago’ O’Hare International Airport, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city won’t allow homeless people to sleep at the airport anymore.
At a news conference Wednesday, Lightfoot was asked about a Fox News segment on homelessness at Chicago airports, in which Tucker Carlson interviewed Ald. Raymond Lopez, 15th, a frequent Lightfoot critic.
“The fact of the matter is, we have taken and will continue to take the steps that are necessary to move people out of the airports,” Lightfoot said. “The airports are a very different place than on the street, under an underpass. It’s a secure location, and the message is clear from me to the Department of Aviation, the Police Department up there.
“We absolutely fundamentally cannot have people sleeping in our airports who are homeless. That is unacceptable. We are going to continue, within the bounds of the law, to do what is necessary to provide those folks with support but elsewhere. They can’t be in our airports.”
The Tribune first reported on the situation at O’Hare in January, sharing the story of 77-year-old Norbert Pikula, one of the many homeless people who spend their nights at one of the country’s busiest airports.
The airport’s statement comes as social media exploded with comments from people who say the issue reflects poorly on Lightfoot’s leadership and others who demand more humane treatment for homeless individuals.
“O’Hare International Airport continues to make significant investments in homelessness services at the nation’s second busiest airport to ensure round-the-clock outreach and mental health services are available to the airport’s unsheltered population,” the airport said in a Twitter post on Thursday.