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The 'good Samaritan' who stepped up for 100 homeless Chicagoans, Candice Payne. (Screenshot from CBS)
The 'good Samaritan' who stepped up for 100 homeless Chicagoans, Candice Payne. (Screenshot from CBS)

Extraordinary

‘Just a little black girl from the South Side’: How one Chicago woman helped 100 homeless people during polar vortex

By WITW Staff on February 4, 2019

When temperatures in the Midwest plummeted to life-threatening lows last week, a Chicago real estate broker sprang into action to help homeless individuals get off the frigid streets.

According to the New York Times, Candice Payne made a “spur of the moment” decision to rent 30 rooms at the local Amber Inn, at a price of $70 per room, for more than 100 of the city’s homeless. Before Payne stepped in, people on the streets of Chicago had been relying on propane heaters to stay warm — but the heaters were confiscated after one of the tanks exploded.

Payne did more than pay for hotel rooms so the city’s homeless would not be left out in sub-zero temperatures; she also bought toiletries, food, prenatal vitamins and other items to ensure that they were well looked after during their stay.

Candice Payne paid for hotel rooms so Chicago’s homeless would not be left out in sub-zero temperatures, and also bought toiletries, food, prenatal vitamins and other items to ensure they were well looked after during their stay. (Facebook/Candice Payne)

As word of Payne’s act of kindness spread, others jumped in to help. Payne posted on Instagram asking for drivers to transport people to the inn, and locals turned up with their vehicles. Restaurants donated food, and the inn lowered its prices so it would be easier to cover the cost of the rooms. Payne also received $10,000 in donations, allowing her to double the number of rooms she rented and extend the stay of the homeless visitors from Thursday to Sunday.

News reports initially attributed Payne’s actions to an anonymous “good Samaritan,” which made it sound “like a rich person did this,” Payne tells the Times. “[B]ut I’m just a little black girl from the South Side,” she adds. “I thought it was unattainable, but after seeing this and seeing people from all around the world, that just tells me that it’s not that unattainable. We can all do this together.”

Read more at the New York Times.

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