City officials in Chicago want to disband a generous man's efforts to help homeless people.
Greg Schiller of Illinois was given a warning to stop hosting “slumber parties” at his house to homeless people, otherwise his cozy home would be condemned, according to Yahoo!.
Schiller began offering up his basement to homeless people last month in an attempt to keep them warm and happy during the cold weather. Evidently, his goal is to treat them very well, and he reportedly stated that there were no drugs or alcohol allowed in his home during the sleepovers.
“I would stay up all night with them and give them coffee and stuff and feed them,” Schiller said, according to Yahoo!.
He made his place available for free when another shelter wasn't, but a city official claimed otherwise.
"In times of extreme temperature, temporary locations open within the community that all conform to regulations and codes," Molly Center, a city spokesperson, said.
The bottom line is that city officials don’t view Schiller’s basement as an acceptable dwelling; they said that the basement doesn't meet their "sleeping regulations."
But what’s better: a bed made from cardboard on a sidewalk in the blistering cold or a warm basement with sleeping bags, conversation, food, and drinks? Many would choose the latter because it’s simply common sense.
"While we appreciate those who volunteer to provide additional resources in the community, Mr. Schiller's house does not comply with codes and regulations that guard against potential dangers, such as carbon monoxide poisoning, inadequate light and ventilation, and insufficient exits in the event of a fire," said Center.
Schiller said he was handed a warrant citing the height of his basement ceiling, which city officials and police said was too low for their standard. Apparently, his windows were too high and small, as well.
While keeping the homeless safe should always be first priority, it's a bit ridiculous that the city is causing such an uproar over Schiller opening up his home while doing very little about the people forced to sleep on the streets in much worse conditions.
If Schiller wants to be of help, the city should work with him to bring his basement up to code and equip him with the resources and information to make his initiative more legitimate. Shutting him down completely is not the answer.
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