• Man told to stop homeless ‘sleep overs' or have house condemned

    By: Natalie Dreier, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:

    ELGIN, Ill. - An Illinois man has been given an ultimatum: Stop allowing homeless people to sleep in his basement or his home will be condemned.

    Greg Schiller allowed a group of homeless people to sleep in the basement of his home. He would give them food, warm drinks and a cot to sleep on during last month’s cold weather. He called it a slumber party, WMAQ reported.

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    Schiller told WMAQ that no drugs or alcohol were permitted.

    Last year, he opened his garage as shelter, but that had to stop after EMTs responded to his home to help a man with a heart condition.

    This year he moved them to the unfinished basement, but officials said that his basement doesn’t meet municipal “sleeping regulations” that cover basements.

    “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 event of a fire,” a city spokesperson told WMAQ in a statement.

    Schiller was given 24 hours to make the basement into a storage area and remove cots and sleeping bags he provides to the homeless. He said he opened the home, which is owned by his girlfriend, because there is no shelter in the area available.

    Schiller said some shelters only open when temperatures hit a certain degree, others have specific requirements for homeless to be eligible to use them, WMAQ reported.

    He said he will comply with the order to shut his makeshift shelter down, but is trying to find other options for the homeless as the temperatures still remain under freezing.

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