Chicago Real Estate Pro Sparks Wave of Kindness

February 4, 2019

Chicago skyline in back of ice-covered Lake Michigan

© Scott Olson/Staff/Getty Images

One real estate professional’s efforts to rescue homeless people from Chicago’s record-breaking subzero temperatures last week sparked a pay-it-forward movement in the city.

The wave began when Candice Payne paid for 20 hotel rooms to shelter homeless people in Chicago during the freezing cold. Then, a post on social media helped the story go viral in the community. Soon, she was flooded with help from the public, offering donations of transportation, food, and money. Soon, 60 hotel rooms for more than 100 people were booked.

“I have people dropping by daily to help who have seen the story on Instagram,” Payne told CNN. “They have volunteered money and time and cars because we had to get them to the hotel. I also have a real estate brokerage, so some of the agents came out to help. They cooked for the homeless, helping serving them.”

Payne and a team of volunteers’ first move was to evacuate a tent city near the highway where a fire caused by a propane tank that had exploded forced out dozens of residents. Then, as more volunteers joined in, they were able to drive across the city to look for even more people to help.

“We got people from police stations, hospitals, outside huddled around fire pits,” Payne told CNN. “What inspired me was my current blessings, so I was just trying to give back.”