Black Woman Leads Charge To Get Hotels For Chicago’s Homeless In Bitter Cold
By Sharelle Burt
The cold weather people in the Midwest are experiencing right now is dangerous. Earlier this week, a report came out that a propane tank that was being used to keep a group of homeless people warm exploded. After the fire department confiscated the tanks, the news prompted some selfless individuals to do something.
A group of eight friends, all business owners from Chicago’s South Side neighborhood, stepped up in a major way. They rented out rooms at the Amber Inn in Bronzeville, where more than 100 people living in a homeless camp were able to escape the life-threatening cold. Initiated by Candice Payne and her husband, the group also provided warm clothes and a hot meal. Payne said she is familiar with the area since she and her husband pass thru it often. She said it was nothing for her to help.
“This is just regular people trying to help,” Payne said. “We wanted to get as much of them out of there as possible.”
Since the polar vortex touched down, at least eight people have died across the Midwest. Schools and public transportation have been shut down, and mail will not be delivered. Earlier this week, Payne and her friends went over to the campground in hopes of persuading some of the homeless to come to the hotel, who Payne said after calling several, was the only one that would take them in. After going back to get more, close to 60 rooms had been rented out. As of Thursday night, the area was deserted, but other areas still needed help.
Payne posted her mission on social media and dozens of donations came pouring in. Armez Spearman, who works in real estate with Payne, found a group living in an abandoned building, so the good samaritans headed over there. Those living in the building went several nights in the cold with no heat or water in the building.
“It was rough,” Christopher Jones said. Even though it’s a temporary situation, it’s good to know the city of Chicago has people looking out for others in the community.