Woman’s effort puts Chicago homeless in hotels during freeze

  • People sleep in tents near a wooded area adjacent to the Dan Ryan Expressway Tuesday Jan. 29, 2019, in Chicago. Officials throughout the region were focused on protecting vulnerable people from the cold , including the homeless, seniors and those living in substandard housing. (Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune via AP)

  • Richard Vargas of the Salvation Army gives a woman food who was sleeping in a tent near a wooded area adjacent to the Dan Ryan Expressway Tuesday Jan. 29, 2019, in Chicago. Vargas visited several locations around the city to ask anyone sleeping outside to seek shelter at a warming center in the Salvation Army’s Freedom Center. (Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune)/Chicago Tribune via AP)

CHICAGO — A good Samaritan triggered an effort that eventually housed over 100 homeless people in a hotel amid dangerously cold weather in Chicago.

Cindy Payne confirms she, her husband and a few friends went to a homeless camp late Tuesday as temperatures sank to negative 23 degrees (negative 30.5 Celsius). They worried the city and charities wouldn’t have the resources to help.

She says they persuaded some people to go to the Amber Inn. Payne charged 20 rooms to her credit card at $70 each.

The next evening, the Chicago Police Department had to confiscate nearly 100 propane tanks after one exploded. The tanks had been donated to help warm the camp.

Payne and her friends returned to the camp and posted about their effort on social media, prompting donations of food, clothing and enough money to house about 120 people at the hotel through Saturday night.

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