US

Good Samaritan Who Paid for Hotels Rooms for Homeless During Polar Vortex Identified

By Zachary Stieber

The Good Samaritan who paid for hotel rooms for homeless people in Chicago during the polar vortex has been identified.

The homeless people were camped out in a tent city when one of the propane tanks they were using exploded due to being too close to a space heater.

That’s when volunteers stepped in and offered to pay for hotel rooms for the group, which was reported at over 100 people.

A woman named Candice Payne, 34, kicked off the effort, “impulsively charging 20 hotel rooms on her American Express card after realizing how dangerous this week’s sub-zero temperatures would be for the Chicagoans without homes,” reported CBS Chicago.

Payne said that she posted about paying for the rooms on social media websites. An Instagram post says, “It’s freezing and deadly! I just secured 30 hotel rooms for the homeless. Need help getting them there, tag anyone who has a passenger van I will pay u to help!”

“It’s not much but to get them out the cold, feed them, and provide them with warm clean clothes is a start,” Payne, a real estate investor for 5th Group Realty, said.

That’s when others got involved.

“Maybe they didn’t know how to or where to start to help, so I’m glad that I was able to be that vehicle,” she said.

“This is just regular people trying to help,” she added to the Chicago Tribune, noting that her husband was involved as well.

She said that they often pass by the homeless camp, which was near Roosevelt Road and Des Plaines Avenue. “We wanted to get as much of them out of there as possible,” she said.

In total, 60 hotel rooms were paid for at Amber Inn, the only place Payne and her husband could find that would take in the homeless people. A receptionist at the hotel said that the group of approximately 120 people nearly filled the entire inn.

Only one member of the group of homeless people declined the offer. That person went to a Salvation Army warming center instead.

“It was really good to get out of the cold,” Asia Walker, a homeless woman, said.

Another homeless man named Robert who accepted the offer told CBS that Payne was an angel.

“We hear about that on the news and other places but I seen it up close and personal today, and I really want to thank y’all for looking out for our people,” Robert said.