Reporting John Cody
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Occupy Chicago activists are looking for help finding fellow demonstrators find a place to stay during the NATO summit, so they’re asking Chicagoans to let them occupy their houses, apartments, back yards, or churches.
Kyle, a housing staffer with Occupy Chicago, said the group is receiving notice from Occupy supporters around the nation who need a place to stay next week through the end of the Summit.
“National Nurses United is sending in 800 people in buses that they’re paying for,” he said. “So that right there is 800. We also have contacts with various occupations saying, ‘Oh, hey, we’re sending up 100 people to you, we’re sending 50 people to you.”
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Kyle said Occupy Chicago is seeking space for 2,000 protestors, and says they’ll even accept space donations from Republicans or political conservatives, just so the protestors can avoid sleeping in parks, and avoid being arrested by police.
Occupy Chicago volunteer Terrence Keenan said just about any space will do.
“Back yards, or anything. People taking people into their houses,” he said. “Any commercial space that would be available for hundreds of people, any sort of warehouse space or anything for camping, because I understand the weather’s gonna be rainy this weekend.”
Keenan said he’s opening his two-flat in Lincoln Square for protesters coming to Chicago.
“We’re having people come out from Buffalo … pretty much any major city is sending out groups of people,” he said. “We’ll also have smaller cities as well, even ones like Mizzoula, Montana.”
Keenan’s neighbors in Lincoln Square seem to have few concerns.
“I hope it doesn’t last all through the night because we have to get to work in the morning, but I’m sure everything will be just fine,” Patrick Fernando says.
One restaurant owner who lives in the neighborhood even suggested it might be good for business.
Occupy Chicago is hosting about 2,000 protestors. The group says it needs free housing for 75 percent of them.
Kyle said Occupy Chicago will supervise anyone who hosts occupy visitors, to ensure orderly behavior. He said Occupy Chicago has four hard and fast ground rules:
1. Leave no trace of your visit. Pickup any and all litter
2. Respect the host.
3. No drugs or alcohol at the site.
4. Low noise levels.
Kyle says Occupy particularly wants larger spaces, like churches or industrial spaces.
Those interested can email OccupyChiHousing@gmail.com or call (773)536-9634.