Pastor Corey Brooks of New Beginnings Church in Woodlawn is braving some of the coldest temperatures of the season as he continues a 100-day campout on top of a roof near the church.
Brooks, who is also the founder of Project H.O.O.D., is on day 67 of that campout near the church at 66th and South Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, and says that recent brutally-cold temperatures have been a challenge.
“The last two nights have been brutal; more difficult than the other nights,” said Brooks.
Wind chills dropped to more than 20 degrees below zero in the city on Wednesday morning, with a low temperature of 6 degrees below zero reported in the Loop.
Brooks' initial goal with the campout was to raise awareness about Chicago’s violence, and to raise millions of dollars for a new community center in Woodlawn, but the recent cold snap has expanded the pastor’s vision.
“The whole time I was in the tent since it’s been cold these last two nights, I’ve been heartbroken because I keep thinking about homeless people who have to endure this for long periods of time,” said Brooks. “I think sometimes as Americans we become desensitized to people who are hurting, especially if we’re living comfortable.”
Nearly $3 million has been raised since the pastor started the campout on Nov. 20. Now, he says he wants the planned community center to offer resources for those experiencing homelessness.
Specific details haven’t been ironed out, but Brooks is vowing to expand on planned programs offered at the future community center.
“I can assure you we’re definitely going to tie that in. We can’t just have people homeless on the streets,” said Brooks. “Unlike me, I’m doing it to raise funds to build a center and I’m going to eventually come down, but this is their constant state of living.”
Brooks is staying in a heated tent on the rooftop. He says he spends many days writing and praying.
His 100-day campout ends on Feb. 28.