City of Joliet Issues Statement on Joliet Township’s Asylum Seeker Grant

The city of Joliet issued a statement on Thursday afternoon to provide clarity regarding the city’s position on Joliet Township’s application for asylum seeker funding.

The City of Joliet routinely shares grant funding opportunities to other local government and social service agencies that support Joliet residents. We do this to help offset the financial impact to these agencies.

The City of Joliet received a notice of funding opportunity regarding this grant on August 9, 2023. As standard practice, City staff reviewed the funding opportunity. A link was shared with Joliet Township and Spanish Community Center to attend a statewide zoom information session hosted by the grantor on this funding opportunity.

On September 1, 2023, City staff met with Joliet Township, Spanish Community Center and Will Grundy Medical Clinic.  A general discussion was held regarding the current pressures placed on these agencies from asylum seekers currently in the community and whether this grant would help stabilize the financial burden placed on the community.

City staff was aware these three organizations intended to have additional conversations regarding this grant opportunity and its applicability to meeting the current needs in the community.   The City of Joliet provided no input in Joliet Township’s grant application.

The City did not receive a request from Joliet Township, nor did we authorize Joliet Township to include the Mayor’s Office and Joliet Fire Department as collaborators. In fact, the City did not receive a copy of the grant application until October 2, 2023. The extreme amount ($12.1M) that Joliet Township requested does not correlate to any conversation City staff had regarding the current needs within the community.

As Interim City Manager, I do not support Joliet Township’s grant application. In the future, the City will continue to partner on funding opportunities with our governmental and community partners that benefit the residents and businesses of Joliet. The Mayor’s strong request that Joliet Township withdraw the application stands.