State Officials Order Man To Stop Sheltering Homeless People In His Basement During Storm
Last week there were millions of Americans who were under some variety of severe weather warnings or advisory relating to the winter storm that's brought snow, ice, and flooding to many. More than 10 million people last week were facing blizzard warnings and the East Coast saw a hefty amount of snowfall.
Some areas have seen as much as 45cm of snow and it worsened to the point of schools and offices being closed, along with bridges and transportation systems. Rhode Island allegedly saw snow falling at a rate of about 7.5cm every hour. And some regions saw gusts of wind that reached roughly 113km an hour.
Emergency officials warned folks that if they didn't have a pressing need to travel that they should stay off the streets. And the storm ended-up causing damage to a number of different areas, many people ended-up trapped in their cars or homes. Some even lost their lives, with at least 20 deaths so far that have been reported, allegedly linked to the cold weather. At least 3 people were reported killed after their cars ran off the roads in North Carolina.
Tens of thousands of power outages
Trying To Help The Homeless
In Chicago, the southern region there has been looking at below freezing temperatures and wind speeds that could reach between 10-25mph.
And one man from Illinois, Greg Schiller, was thinking about how he could help those who might need it the most during the last few weeks of the winter storm.
His solution to how he could help?
He opened up his home to homeless people in his community. He allowed them to sleep in his basement overnight so that they wouldn't freeze to death, so they'd have a warm place to sleep at night.
Deciding Who Can Spend The Night At Your Own Home
The state has now sought to punish Schiller for his act of kindness. Insisting that he violated a plethora of regulations. After all, they're just looking out for our best interest, right? I guess in this case, they would have rather him allow those homeless people to sleep on the cold streets.
They said that Schiller was in violation of a variety of municipal regulations including fire-safety requirements.
On more than one occasion he has sought to help the homeless and allowed them to sleep in his basement on cots whenever the area has faced cold temperatures, below 15 degrees. Not only does he give them a warm place to rest but he also provides them with meals and hot drinks. He even shows them movies and on average would have about 10 people who stayed the night. Schiller has referred to those who stayed with him as his friends.
Does He Have A Right To Be A Good Samaritan?
Schiller says that he wasn't trying to run any underground homeless shelter, but that he was simply opening up his home in a time of emergency to help those in his community who might need it.
After his story received some attention, city officials have since sought to try and work together with Schiller and Schiller has allegedly dropped his plans to sue the municipality. He says that he respects the city codes, but admits he thinks that they could've used a little more discretion and grace in this matter.
And unfortunately his story isn't that unique, because we hear about these stories on numerous occasions, where people try to help one another and get punished for it by the state. Whether it's providing a warm place to sleep at night or giving someone a meal to eat etc, it shouldn't be the responsibility of the government to initiate violence against people who are engaging in a peaceful and voluntary exchange; trying to help one another.
Julio Cortez/Associated Press via The Star
Charles Krupa/The Associated Press