Illinois man told to stop having ‘slumber parties’ in his house for homeless people
A Chicago man is being warned by city officials to stop offering "slumber parties" at his home to homeless people or else his house will be condemned.
Greg Schiller told NBC 5 he began opening his basement up to the homeless last month during brutally cold weather. He offered them offered them food, warm drinks and a place to sleep while watching movies.
“I would stay up all night with them and give them coffee and stuff and feed them,” he said, while also adding that no drugs or alcohol were allowed inside his residence during the sleepovers.
However, city officials said Schiller's basement doesn't meet their "sleeping regulations."
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"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," Molly Center, a city spokesperson, said.
On Tuesday, Schiller said he was visited by city officials and police who handed him a warrant detailing his basement's ceiling height, which they said was too low for the city's standard and added that his windows were too high and small.
“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,” Schiller said.
Schiller told the local station he made his basement available when another shelter wasn't.
"I'm trying to help these people get out of the cold," Schiller said. "There's not a lot of help for them as far as places to lay their heads."
However, Center contended that there are several shelters in the city that provide safe spaces for homeless people to go.
"In times of extreme temperature, temporary locations open within the community that all conform to regulations and codes," Center said.
Though Schiller said he'll stop offering his home to those without one, he won't stop looking for other options to care for the homeless.