Realtor rents hotel rooms for homeless during deadly Chicago cold snap

After Candice Payne and her husband rented 20 rooms for people living outside, other good Samaritans stepped up too

Candice Payne (Credit: David Kinney,
Candice Payne (Credit: David Kinney,

With Chicago in the throes of a historic stretch of frigid weather this week, a South Side Realtor led an effort to bring a group of people without homes out of the cold.

Candice Payne, managing broker at 5th Group Realty & Management, and her husband launched an effort to convince people living in a South Loop homeless encampment to come with them to escape the cold on Tuesday night as overnight wind chills approached 60 degrees below zero, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Aided by a group of friends and local business owners from the South Side, the couple ended up renting 20 rooms at $70 each at the Amber Inn in Bronzeville, the only hotel they could find that would accept the group.

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With temperatures still well below zero Wednesday, Payne and friends returned to the camp and brought more people to the hotel. When word got out, more good Samaritans joined in, gathering donations of food, clothes, coats, winter gear and more.

By Thursday night, they had enough money for 60 rooms for four nights, nearly filling the entire hotel.

“This is just regular people trying to help,” Payne, 34, told the Tribune. [Chicago Tribune] — John O’Brien