Chicago Woman Booked Hotel Rooms for the Homeless During Polar Vortex

The Polar Vortex, Snowpocalypse 2019, whatever you want to call it, the extremely cold weather hitting the Midwest recently has been challenging, chaotic, and for many, very dangerous.

Temperatures fell well below zero, reaching -25 F. With the wind chill, parts of the Midwest hovered around -50 F. Flights were cancelled, schools and businesses closed, the entire state of Michigan was in a state of emergency and more than 20 people died as a result of the extreme temperatures.

In Chicago, where temperatures were colder than in Antarctica, 34-year-old real estate broker Candice Payne made a “spur-of-the-moment” decision to help the city’s vulnerable homeless population.

Payne started contacting hotels and booked 30 rooms for $70 per room at the Amber Inn on a night when temperatures in Chicago dipped to -25 F. She also asked on Instagram if anyone could help transport the homeless people to the hotel and soon ended up with volunteer drivers. People started donating to her Cash App account, wanting to join her cause.

Other people followed Payne’s lead and started anonymously paying for rooms. The hotel manager even lowered the price to help house more people, bringing the total from 30 rooms (provided by Payne) to 60.

“We met at tent city, where all the homeless people set up tents and live on the side of the expressway,” said Payne. “It is not a secret. The homeless have been living there for years.”

Payne also delivered care packages with toiletries, food and prenatal vitamins. Restaurants started donating food. Payne spent about $4,700 herself on rooms and supplies and received over $10,000 in donations, allowing her to house and feed the homeless people for several days.

“I am a regular person,” said Payne. “It all sounded like a rich person did this, but I’m just a little black girl from the South Side. I thought it was unattainable, but after seeing this and seeing people from all around the world, that just tells me that it’s not that unattainable. We can all do this together.”

She realizes this is only a “temporary fix,” but has been inspired to find a permanent solution and organize to help the homeless population in Chicago. Illinois governor, J.B. Pritzker, called to thank her, calling her efforts “one of the biggest acts of kindness we have seen in a long time.”

Photo Credit: CBS Chicago


Anna R
Anna R27 days ago

Thank you

Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson2 months ago

Thank you.

Celine R
Celine Russo2 months ago

Why can't we get this kind of news more often?

jan l
jan l2 months ago

God bless her and the volunteers she inspired. I'm inspired to go buy more gloves hats and socks for the shelter. (And a few more 5lb cans of t chocolate mix).

Nancy Adams
Nancy Adams2 months ago

This wonderful woman offers hope for our world. Just imagine what it would be like if if more people cared this much for others! I don't know her faith, or if she even subscribes to one, but this was a Christ-like act. Bless you, Ms Payne!

Janis K
Janis K2 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

Magdalen B
Magdalen B2 months ago

Wonderful! Inspirational.

Danuta W
Danuta Watola2 months ago

thank you for posting

Carol J
Carol Johnson2 months ago

Thanks for sharing

Ruth R
Ruth R2 months ago

Thank You, Payne, for helping these people get a place to get inside to help them from the weather. Thank You people who took people who are (were) homeless and gave them homes and/or a temporary home.