Homeless Brave Danger Out Of Desperation

CHICAGO (CBS) — Christmas Eve was a good day for Gwen Ingram. She was able to get a meal and a couple of toys at the Rev. Paul Hall’s annual holiday food drive on South Ashland Avenue.

She is homeless and at times has lived in abandoned buildings, the last time two weeks ago.

Ingram says she many others are so desperate for shelter, they put their lives in danger by going beyond boarded up doors and windows.

“You got rats, people smoking pipes, dope dealers, reefer smokers,” said Ingram. “Alcoholics, people pushing over everybody. Kids getting molested. It’s just sad.”

It is a sad story that was brought to new light when two Chicago firefighters died Wednesday in an abandoned building on 75th Street.

Officials now believe the someone set the fire. And investigators have talked to several homeless men and women who sought shelter here.

“When the homeless people get desperate, many times they don’t want to go to the big shelters, so they’ll just go into an abandoned building and set a fire to keep themselves warm,” said Hall. “They have nowhere else to go. And I’m not ashamed (to admit it.)”

It is a tragedy that can have a devastating ripple effect.

“So if you got somewhere to stay, you’d better be thanking God you got somewhere to stay,” said Carolyn Myles, who says she once lived in an abandoned building with her daughter.

  • anonymust

    I AM NOT FROM HERE ABD IUSED TO BE NOMELESS BECAUSE NO ONE WOULD GIVE ME AJOB THOUGH I HAD EXPERIENCE I BRAVED Alot even noisy shelters but i know what it is to work an d stay warm inwinter i am not a dope junky or anything and never was sometimes people were nice to me sometimes too nosy i waould never anywhere in any kind of way meant something to znybody the better things went the worst some acted and now some one gaveme one of those god forsaken sro’s and no job now i’m ready to pick up and go again somewhere else idon;t want nobody looking in my fACE and i never sellmyself for anything!

  • Average Guy

    Most of the people in Chicago treat homeless people in categories of sex, race and age, but, not necessarily in that order. They stroll past them, not even noticing them. Rather, trying not to see them. If they see them, then they know that they are there. They don’t want to know that they are there. If they know that they are there, then they would feel as if they should do something. They don’t want to do anything. They don’t want to choose. It is not their problem. They are not to blame. So, they try not to notice.

  • S. J. B.

    The Rev. Paul Hall featured in your news report was convicted of aggravated criminal sexual assault of this Foster son and served a prison sentence for the crime. For years his picture was on the Internet as a sexual offender. There are so mnay great organizations in Chicago serving children By featuring him you suggest to children that the are safe in his care. Are you sure?

    • WP

      yes I am sure. this man and with the tremendous efforts by Kevin Jones, Chef at the Wyndham Lisle and his staff, they fed over 500 families..What have you done lately S.J.B?

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