It was close to a year ago when Greg Schiller was cited for allowing people to sleep in a garage in the 400 block of Lawrence Ave. and he has since been cited again after he said he let people who are homeless sleep in his unfinished basement.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Schiller siad his reading of city code allows for “slumber parties,” and he said that is exactly what happens — 10 or so of his friends are just coming over to watch movies a few times a week.
But according to the news outlet, the code applies to children’s parties, not adults, according to Elgin’s department of neighborhood services director, Coby Basham. The city views Schiller’s allowance of homeless on his property as a something called a “rooming house,” which is prohibited by city code. In addition, Elgin city code also does not allow basement sleeping unless the basement meets code, said Basham to the news outlet.
According to city records, Elgin was notified to the situation thanks to an anonymous resident. This person claimed 10 to 15 people were sleeping in the basement each night. The city then saw Schiller’s offenses in 2016 which included using his garage as a shelter and on a separate occasion, an automotive repair shop.
Officials are not certain what happens at the house according to the news outlet are they not able to force entry into his home. Owned by Schiller’s girlfriend, Teresa Quarles’s property was cited for a broken front window, tires and a portable toilet outdoors as well ass a commercial trailer. Quarles told the news outlet the city’s actions are “reprehensible.”
“We are talking about people’s lives,” she said to the news outlet.
If you ask Schiller, he will say he has opened the basement for area homeless residents “five or six times this season.” During those times, Schiller said some were days the emergency shelter at Elgin’s First United Methodist Church on East Highland Avenue should have been open but was not according to the news outlet.
According to the news outlet, First United Methodist Church of Elgin has been running an emergency shelter out of the church basement for five seasons and is operated by Matthew 25:40. The organization was actually co-founded by Schiller, but he resigned from it in August 2016, according to the news outlet.