We live in a world where even random acts of kindness are surveilled and regulated by the government—a lesson that one Chicago man learned the hard way.
Greg Schiller knew that last December’s unprecedented cold weather would put the lives of local homeless people in danger as temperatures plummeted to dangerously low levels.
And so instead of sitting back helplessly, Greg decided to take action by transforming his own basement into a temporary shelter.
“I would stay up all night with them and give them coffee and stuff and feed them,” said Schiller, adding that he prohibited the consumption of alcohol and other drugs.
But then something happened: the government which claims its sole purpose is to protect and help us, decided to stomp onto the scene and shut Greg’s operation down—because, you know, they’re trying to help us.
In the words of city spokesperson Molly Center:
“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 the event of a fire.”
Ah yes, the old “we’re ruining your life because we want to help you” excuse.
In truth, basements are not inherently dangerous places to dwell—no more dangerous than any other part of a home, so the insincere warnings about “fires” and “carbon monoxide” poisoning just don’t add up.
Center added, “Elgin has lawful shelters that provide a safe space for people to go throughout the year. In times of extreme temperature, temporary locations open within the community that all conform to regulations and codes.”
The problem with that logic, however, is that the shelters only open when temperatures sink passed 15 degrees—anything higher than that and the homeless are left on the streets.
“It’s cold enough to freeze to death,” said Schiller, who added that the state was committed to preventing continuing his “operation”:
“They shut me down and said I have 24 hours to return my basement to storage and take down—-I have several cots with sleeping bags for everybody—or they’ll condemn the house.”
Apparently that crippling mortgage you pay as a “home owner” does not actually give you full ownership rights.
Indeed, despite Greg’s story gaining increasing attention in the media, authorities simply redoubled their efforts, issuing an ultimatum: If the homeless aren’t removed from the home, “the City will take additional enforcement action to compel the removal of the unlawful basement sleeping area.”
Sadly, there’s very little left for Greg to do without risking ending up homeless himself—as his own words succinctly describe, “somebody’s going to die.”
You Can Watch An Interview With Greg Schiller Here: