Ellen, Walmart Grant $50K To Chicago Woman Who Helped House Homeless During Extreme Cold

Mike Krauser
February 07, 2019 - 8:56 am

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The South Side Chicago woman behind the effort that put more than 100 homeless people in hotel rooms during the bitter cold last week appeared on the Ellen Show on Wednesday.

"Candice, you are just amazing," Ellen said on the show. 

Candice Payne was invited on the Ellen Show to talk about her good deed. She said while she was working from home last week, she got to thinking about the homeless in the cold and decided to call some hotels. 

"This is just going to be a regular work day in the house, I get to watch TV. And then I started thinking, what about the people who live outside, who don't have a home to go to," Payne told Ellen. "And it was a no-brainer.

"I picked up the phone and in my mind I can go and charge 20 hotel rooms on my American Express and as I get to calling around, no one wanted them. It was not good for business."

Ellen: "None of the hotels wanted homeless people in them?"

"They were not, no," Payne said. "No."

She found the Amber Inn on South Michigan Avenue was good with it, and when she took to social media to look for help for rides, people responded with more than just that. 

Thirty rooms for one night grew to 72 rooms for five nights.

"We help over 122, it was 122 people," Payne told Ellen.

Homelessness is a personal matter for Payne, as her boyfriend was once homeless.

"The misconception about people that are homeless is they think that they are lazy or they just don't want a job. Truth be told, a lot of people are one paycheck away from their same situation," she said.

Ellen agreed.

"You know, we have to do something about the problem of the homeless," Ellen said. "I think now more than ever, with the weather the way it is, all the disasters, people losing their homes in fires, there's a lot of reasons, like you said, they're one paycheck away, so we have to do something about this homeless situation and help them. And the fact that you did this is, just out of the kindness of your heart..."

Payne went to Walmart to purchase items and supplies to help the homeless. The company heard about her deed and provided Payne with a donation of $25,000, presented on the Ellen Show.

Following the presentation of the check, the show cut to commercial. After the commercial break, Ellen asked Payne what was next for her. 

"Two years ago, I started a non-profit. It's called Action for a Cause. I didn't do anything with it, because I didn't know what I wanted to do. Feeding homeless or buying hotels, I can do that out of pocket, I didn't know what I was doing with it. I now found my new purpose," Payne said. 

Candice Payne, 34, is a real estate developer from Auburn Gresham, and said her plan is to rehab multi-unit buildings to get homeless people off the streets. 

"Well I decided during the break, I made a phone call. And I called Walmart and I asked them to give you another $25,000," Ellen told Payne. 

In total, Payne received $50,000 to help launch Action for a Cause. She has also started a GoFundMe campaign  further assist her plan.