3,000 migrants scramble to find homes and work as mass evictions from Chicago shelters loom

Maria Cinfuentes stood outside Chicago’s largest migrant shelter on a windy morning last week, rubbing her cold hands together and worrying about her future.

She learned last week that her stay at the shelter, the only home she’s known since arriving in the United States from Venezuela in December, will come to an end next month. But she has no idea where she’ll go next.

“I don’t have a job. My husband doesn’t have a job,” the 30-year-old mother of three told NBC News in Spanish. “I don’t know anyone here. How am I going to pay rent?”

More than 13,000 migrants like Cinfuentes are under pressure to find homes and work before they are mass-evicted from city-operated shelters to conserve the budget and make room for newcomers.

But in interviews last week with more than a dozen migrants, many who spoke to NBC News expressed fear that they won’t make that deadline, especially because it is nearly impossible for the newest arrivals to get rental assistance and quick access to work permits. Advocates say it’s unlikely that everyone will be able to successfully transition out of the shelters and instead will need to reapply for access to another shelter. They fear some will end up homeless.

“I can’t even sleep. I’m staying up all night thinking,” Cinfuentes said. “It makes me sick.”