Mayor Lightfoot vows to remove homeless from Chicago O’Hare airport as more seek shelter there

Chicago Airport homeless

Mayor Lori Lightfoot threatens to remove the homeless at Chicago O’Hare Airport, as more people seek refuge at the facility.

Once the situation garnered national notice and condemnation, Lightfoot pledged to do all she could to remove unhoused persons from O’Hare Airport, calling it a safety hazard.

Lightfoot was questioned about a Fox News story on homelessness in Chicago airports in which Tucker Carlson interviewed Ald. Raymond Lopez, 15th, a frequent Lightfoot opponent, during a press conference on Wednesday.

Chicago Airport Homeless
Mayor Lori Lightfoot


“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.” she said.

Despite the number of individuals seeking refuge at O’Hare climbs every winter, it has recently been greater, according to Jessica Dubuar, Haymarket Center’s director of specialist programs and services.

The Haymarket Center’s O’Hare Outreach program, which connects persons suffering from homelessness and seeking refuge at the airport with services, assisted 618 unhoused people at the airport in 2022, an increase of 58% from 431 in 2021. In 2022, Haymarket had 14,000 encounters with the unhoused, a huge increase over 2018, when 8,132 interactions were recorded with 392 persons.

There has been some disturbing photographs revealing dirty temporary shelters put up inside the terminals of a major transport hub. One photograph even shows a homeless person fallen and sleeping within a terminal doorway.

Chicago Airport Homeless
Chicago Airport Homeless

Lightfoot savaged for reportedly allowing ‘homeless encampment’ to fester in airport

However, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is being chastised online after photos of what seemed to be homeless encampments inside O’Hare Airport went viral, with many people angry about the city’s safety.

Earlier last Thursday, Lightfoot has stated that she is concerned about the safety of Chicagoans.

“Everyone in our city deserves to be safe because they are safe,” she said.


Crime remains a top priority for Chicagoans, according to a recent Mason-Dixon survey, with 44% of voters claiming it is the most significant issue to them before voting.

The report comes as Lightfoot’s popularity suffers as a result of the crime problem, with a BSP survey showing her ranking third among her opponents in her re-election attempt. During “Fox & Friends First,” Chicago-based reporter William Kelly criticized Lightfoot for Chicago’s “violence pandemic,” accusing her of leading with policies that empower criminals.

William Kelly, a Chicago-based reporter, blamed Chicago’s “crime epidemic” on Lightfoot during “Fox & Friends First,” accusing her of leading with policies that embolden criminals.

Additional Police Force to be deployed

But, a law enforcement source stated that beginning this week, more police officers would be committed to providing services to homeless individuals and removing those who refuse the assistance.

Chicago Airport Homeless

Despite Lightfoot’s emphasis on the matter on Thursday, the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to talk openly, said there was no mandate from City Hall to more forcefully remove people from O’Hare.