Migrants endure long waits for housing as demand swells, birthplace of house music nears landmark status and more in your Chicago news roundup

Today’s update is about an eight-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

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Joseph, 47, sets up a bed frame in his new basement apartment in a North Side neighborhood last week. Joseph fled political upheaval in his native Nicaragua and was able to move out of a city shelter and into an apartment with the help of a state-administered rental assistance program for asylum seekers.

Tessa Weinberg/WBEZ

Good afternoon, Chicago. ✶

Last Friday, inspired by a recent story from the Louisville Courier Journal, I asked you to name the best places in Chicago to break up with someone.

And while I definitely got some creative answers, working my way through your responses made me realize that, when it comes to love, our city does romance a lot better than it does heartbreak.

I asked readers last year to give me Chicago’s most rom-com-worthy locations and the answers piled up quickly. Some folks imagined meet-ups at food trucks, museums, sporting events, airports and more. Others shared their own, real-life rom-com moments, like Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who suggested the Shedd: “Greatest day of my life, where [Illinois first lady M.K. Pritzker] said yes.”

If you’re looking for a little pick-me-up, I’ve got some of my favorite answers in a list.

But before you drift through that tunnel of love, here are the stories you need to know this afternoon.

⏱️: A 7-minute read

— Matt Moore, newsletter reporter (@MattKenMoore)


In a sanctuary city for migrants, the long, grueling wait for an apartment

Reporting by Tessa Weinberg

The long wait for help: For many migrants seeking rental assistance to move into their own apartments, the wait can take six months or more. Currently, priority goes to asylum seekers who have been housed in city shelters longer than eight months, a city spokeswoman said.

Resources overstretched: Affordable housing and willing landlords are in short supply. Social service agencies are also overstretched, trying to keep up with the fast clip of new arrivals that only continues to grow. And nonprofits are racing to keep up, adding staff and expanding their volunteer networks to fill in city services’ gaps — from helping new arrivals apply for rental aid and securing apartments to finding furniture that makes these homes livable.

Key quote: Some nonprofits stepping up to meet the demand say a broader conversation needs to be had about how to devote resources toward creating a permanent infrastructure for asylum seekers.

“What we are all hitting up against is there are not enough resources to support emergency rental assistance for all of the individuals that are coming into Chicago right now,” said Ami Novoryta, chief program officer at Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago, which is working with the city and state to conduct housing assessments.




“The Warehouse,” at 206 S. Jefferson St., regarded as the birthplace of house music, is one step closer to being granted historic landmark status by the city.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times


Caffeinate at The Coffee & Tea Exchange


The Coffee & Tea Exchange as seen during a visit from Sun-Times reporter Mariah Rush in July 2022.

Mariah Rush/Sun-Times

I talked with Sun-Times reporter Mariah Rush, who recommends stopping by one of her favorite coffee spots in the city, The Coffee & Tea Exchange, for all of your caffeine-related needs.

“It’s definitely a haven for coffee purists — the inside of the shop looks like a coffee warehouse,” Mariah says. “They have every kind of coffee, tea and flavoring you can possibly imagine.”

While they don’t have food service or tables inside, they do carry great baked goods from nearby spots, Mariah told me.

“Also the employees are super creative!” Mariah says. “Every month, they think up a theme — past ones have been Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘SOUR’ album, ‘The Addams Family,’ the ‘Twilight’ series — and make up some insanely original lattes to go along with it. And, of course, the monthly menu makes a great backdrop for a basic Instagram photo!”

📍The Coffee & Tea Exchange, 3311 N Broadway



Kaye Larsen Olloway, founder of Fat Cat Rescue, greets a few of the hundreds of rescued feral cats at the Wadsworth nonprofit sanctuary.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

A visit to cat heaven: rural rescue outside Chicago houses feral felines

Reporting by Neil Steinberg

Welcome to Fat Cat Rescue in Wadsworth, where hundreds of feral cats trapped on the street are taken to live on a seven-acre farm, with a pond, a three-story antique barn and various quaint outbuildings decorated with cats in mind.

Outside, an electrified fence keeps predators away, while inside, many walls have wooden chairs, legs removed, strategically mounted so cats can leap up, get comfortable and observe life from a comfortable distance.

Kaye Larsen Olloway, the farm’s founder, has named just about all of the cats currently housed at Fat Cat Rescue.

You’ve got Sammy the Bull. Gracie Mae, who just got over an illness. Baby Blue, who is called, conversationally, Blue-Blue, or just Baby. Then there’s Lucille, Desi, Ricardo. Others are named for streets where they’re found: Foster. Kennedy. And the list goes on.

There are mostly feral cats — born in the wild, only recently accustomed to humans, if at all. One volunteer places the number living at Fat Cat Rescue between 300 and 350. Still, they are a lucky few.

“Feral cat colonies are a fact of life in neighborhoods and areas throughout the county,” says Armando Tejeda, a spokesman for Chicago Animal Care and Control.

The average lifespan of a feral cat is three years. At Fat Cat, residents can live to 15.



It’s wedding season in Chicago! Think of the best wedding you’ve ever been to in the city — where was it and why was it the best?

Email us (please include your first and last name and where you live). To see the answers to this question, check our Morning Edition newsletter. Not subscribed to Morning Edition? Sign up here so you won’t miss a thing!

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Editor: Satchel Price

Newsletter reporter: Matt Moore

Copy editor: Christopher Woldt

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