It started Tuesday evening and went through Thursday. The temperature was -25. The wind chill was in the -50 range. The Polar Vortex was here.
Most people made it to their homes and stayed there. Sure, it may have led to missed work and school, too much television and general boredom/cabin fever, but at least they were home and safe.
What if you were homeless and living on the street? How would you survive? Could you survive?
Candace Payne was thinking the same thing.
Every day she drives past the homeless camp at Roosevelt Road and Des Plaines Avenue. It's called Tent City. When the weather became dangerous, Payne wondered if the city would have the resources to help the people living in the street. Her concerns were correct. Although the city opened up it's field houses as warming center, there were only two locations open for twenty-four hours. Far from enough to serve Chicago's homeless population.
She knew she wanted to do something to help but wasn't sure what to do. She started making calls and found a hotel, The Amber Inn, in Bronzeville, that could take in these at-risk people.
By Tuesday night, Candace Payne had rented twenty room at $70/each. Then her friends joined in to help. They ended up renting sixty rooms. It was enough to get one hundred-twenty homeless people off the street for four nights. The group from Tent City filled up the entire hotel.
Candace Payne told the Chicago Tribune,
"This is just regular people trying to help. We wanted to get as much of them out of there as possible."
Asia Walker live in Tent City and was appreciated staying at the Inn: "It was really good to get out of the cold."
The brutally cold weather has broken. The Polar Vortex is over. The temperature is now in the 40-50 degree range. This homeless group will be headed back to Tent City. The good news is thanks to Candace Payne and her friends, they're alive to do this.
This post is part of the ongoing series Faces of Homelessness
Related Post: Mookie Betts feeds the homeless