In a world full of people that are blessed with opportunity, there are even more who don’t have any. Having a roof over your head, hot meals to eat and a bed to sleep in may not seem like much. But for many, it would be a dream. This is especially true during the winter season where the weather is wet and cold. For the homeless, the winter season is extremely tough to survive. Staying warm and consuming food is essential, but it’s easier said than done for them. This is why an Illinois man has opened his home to help.
Unfortunately, this Illinois man has been ordered to stop opening his home to the homeless. It’s easy to ignore the homeless epidemic because people have their own problems and own lives to deal with. But to order this Illinois man to stop caring seems a bit sketchy.
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Greg Schiller, who lives in Elgin, Illinois, has been ordered by city officials to stop offering shelter to the homeless. If he does not comply, his house could be condemned. Schiller started opening his house last month when the temperatures were dangerously cold. He cleared out his unfinished basement and filled them with cots and blankets.
Schiller started to organize what he called “slumber parties” for homeless people that had no place to stay for the night. He would offer them food and hot beverages and would also put movies on for them to watch until the morning. Unfortunately, the local authorities don’t share the same mindset as Schiller. They’re threatening to condemn his home if he doesn’t stop his slumber parties.
Schiller spoke to NBC 5 and explained that all he is trying to do is get these people out of the cold. He also mentions that there aren’t a lot of places for the homeless to go to. He only opened his home to the people when local shelters were not open. The difference between Schiller’s shelter and the local shelters is that they require certain criteria’s before letting the homeless in. Not to mention that they only open when the temperature reaches a certain level.
In 2016, Schiller opened his garage and used it as a shelter for the homeless. Unfortunately, EMTs had to come and attend to a man suffering from a heart condition. Once they arrived, they alerted city officials who then told Schiller that he was breaking the city code.
After this incident, Schiller took a long look at the city code. He found a loophole that allowed slumber parties. That’s when he transformed his basement into a shelter and introduced activities that would necessary for a slumber party. Unfortunately, the slumber party exception is only for children’s parties according to city officials. Apparently, Schiller’s gatherings make his home a rooming house. Under the city code, this is prohibited. In addition, the sleeping regulations in Schiller’s basement are not up to par as well.
Molly Center, who is one of the city spokespersons, says that the city appreciates everything Mr. Schiller has done. But she mentions that the city must take into account certain codes. These include carbon monoxide poisoning, lack of light and ventilation and sufficient exits. City officials gave Schiller 24 hours to ensure that his basement met all the regulations.
When the city officials came to his house to inspect his basement, they found that the ceiling was too low. His windows were too high for an escape, and there were no safe fire exists. Coby Basham, who is the director of Elgin’sneighborhoodd services, explains that the safety of the occupants in the basement is a concern. He says that if emergency services need to get into that basement, it would be very difficult to do.
Schiller has agreed to stop hosting slumber parties in his basement. But he has not stopped trying to help the homeless. He is currently looking into other options that will allow him to continue helping the homeless population which he has become extremely close with.