Frequently Asked Questions – Asylum Seekers

What is going on at the 22nd District station of the Chicago Police Department?

Many asylum seekers who have arrived in Chicago are being temporarily housed in police stations across the city, a place for them to wait until a shelter bed becomes available at one of the refugee shelters around the city. The wait can be as short as a day or longer than 10 days. There are no resources available at the Police Departments, so the effort to bring essentials to the asylum seekers sheltering at police departments is volunteer led.

What is the role of 19th Ward Mutual Aid?

A member of the Chicago Police Station Response Team, a network of volunteers meeting the needs of recently arrived asylum seekers sheltering in police stations, 19th Ward Mutual Aid is managing the efforts to provide for asylum seekers at the 22nd District (D22). 19th Ward Mutual Aid is coordinating with Turpin Cares, which is providing hygiene essentials, and Edna White Gardens, which is providing daily respite.

What is mutual aid?

Mutual aid is an effort that brings community members together to provide resources and assistance to others when current conditions lead to needs not being met. 

How can I help?

If you are interested in volunteering, you can sign up here and note your areas of interest. You may also sign up to deliver a meal (instructions and more information is available on the meal sign up form).

Monetary donations can be made via Venmo (@Aid19), PayPal, or Zelle ( Donations are used to supply air mattresses, medications/medical supplies, prescriptions, food when needed, or other necessities for the asylum seekers staying in D22.

You may also contact Tim Noonan at to discuss other ways to help.

Can I donate food or clothing?

Donations will be accepted on as-needed basis. Contact Tim Noonan at if you have items such as shelf-stable pantry items or clothing that you wish to donate.

What about the people from our own community who need assistance?

19th Ward Mutual Aid was created on the premise of neighbors helping neighbors. In 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the group helped nearly 20,000 community members meet their needs. Currently, 19th Ward Mutual Aid is focused on welcoming our new neighbors. The asylum seekers are individuals and families who are eager to participate in the immigration process and start life here as contributing members of our communities in Chicago. Helping our new neighbors does not prevent from helping long-standing neighbors too. If you wish to discuss other needs in our community and whether 19th Ward Mutual Aid can be a partner, please contact Tim Noonan at

Who are the asylum seekers?

As noted by the City of Chicago, the State of Texas has bused asylum seekers through private charter buses to Chicago at regular intervals since August of 2022. During the last several months, Texas officials dispatched buses with hundreds of migrants to sanctuary cities.

Most asylum seekers are from Venezuela, though some come from Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. These individuals and families may be fleeing persecution, violence, and instability, including food insecurity and lack of basic needs.

About 19th Ward Mutual Aid: 19th Ward Mutual Aid was formed in early 2020 during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic to address the needs of the community. With much of the community’s service worker population unemployed, needs were not being met. The organization, created and run by Tim Noonan as an all-volunteer effort, created a weekly food pantry that fed nearly 20,000 people over the next year. The 19th Ward Mutual Aid has also previously fought book bans with the Maus Project, and organized neighbors to build a fence and design a garden for a local shelter that cares for abused women and children. Currently, 19th Ward Mutual Aid is focused on welcoming asylum seekers to our neighborhood and meeting their basic needs as part of the Chicago Police Station Response Team. 19th Ward Mutual Aid is part of the Chicagoland Food Sovereignty Coalition.

Tim can be reached at or 773-852-3080.