Man who invites homeless people to his home during freezing temperatures threatened by city officials

Originally published at:


Over the years, every time I read something about chicago, ever, it’s about mind-blowing corruption.


Any kickstarters in helping this guy get his basement up to code then?
Completely understand the legal reasons why he can’t do this charity, same reason I can’t legally consider my laundry room a bedroom.


Just for the record, this guy lives in Elgin, which is over an hour outside of Chicago.


Fire regulations. People can’t get out the basement windows, so the stair is the single exit.

People who try to sub-let their basement as an apartment get hit with that too.


“They shut me down and said I have 24 hours to return my basement to storage and take down - I have several cots with sleeping bags for everybody – or they’ll condemn the house.”

Anyone know a good attorney in Chi-Town for this dude?


City officials saw no way of making money off this… so away it goes.


I am torn on this.

  1. It is awesome he is helping people get out of the cold.

  2. The reason there are codes in place to prevent this sort of thing from happening on a regular bases. The sad thing is - despite good intentions, this is how people die and get hurt.


I’ll bet that the EMTs in Elgin are part of the Fire Department. They’ve probably pulled too many bodies out of illegal basement apartments to let it just slide.

It’s probably time to think of lateral solutions.

ETA: The EMTs were called when he was using his garage. I wonder what the problem was there?


Last year, there was a house fire in the next town over from where I live that resulted in the deaths of 4 people who were illegally living in the basement of a house that lacked egress windows. Fire officials aren’t enforcing an arbitrary rule in this case, but I do hope the gentleman is able to raise funds to install the egress window he needs to continue helping the homeless in his community.


This guy’s got a lot of nerve trying to help people stay alive and warm. A real American would be out there kicking these people in the teeth. Thank god the city stuck its nose in and prevented kindness from happening here on American soil.
OK Bullshit done…What the fuck is wrong with these soulless bastards. Might there not be a time and situation when you could overlook a regulation to save a life. Put their sorry ass out on the streets on a sub zero night. Give them a sheaf of regulations to keep warm and dry. At some point let them know that they are homeless and miserable through their own fault, And just before they slide into a coma read them some bible verses and give em a MAGA cap. Then they’ll understand.


probably in their zoning ordinance that you can’t have habitable space in an accessory structure


Last winter, Schiller offered up his garage to area homeless, but said he was told he could no longer do so after EMTs were called to help a man with a heart condition.

This is not in Chicago. It is in Elgin where I live. Elgin is as far away from Chicago as you can get and still be a suburb basically. Any further west is all cornfields.

Will @Carla_Sinclair correct this in the story??

Regarding local police at least , they are good people. The problems I have with the city relate more to their parking enforcement policies, but that is city officials.

I think @Mister44 has the right take on what the issue is. A lot of churches (and there is a ton by me) in the area have proper facilities for this sort of thing.


Goodness knows whenever I throw a slumber party, I put all my friends in the basement!
I do admire his impulse to do something kind, but he seems to be trying to set up unused parts of his house (garage, basement) as a shelter, which really is not the same as “inviting them into his home.” Sleeping bags in the living room would probably be hunky-dory.


Winner for the most authentically Chicago-y response to this post. (Came here for this as a matter of fact)


More details from last year’s article on the guy:

He is a pastor, and also lives near downtown by me I guess! The good news is all the churches nearby should take in any folks displaced by this.


Perhaps he should check out the groups offering shelter in his area?

They have space, washrooms, zoning for it, but what they usually lack are volunteers.


Should being an operative word. Either way i commend the guy for being generous and trusting, not something i would do if i’m being honest. I hope some resolution or alternative has been found.


Thanks very much for that link! There’s a lot of interesting between-the-lines kind of indicators in that story (gas heaters in the garage, Rev is a former volunteer with one of the shelters …). Could be the situation is more complicated than a quick outrage-hit paints it to be?