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Some Stay In Their Homes Despite Not Having Heat

Chicago (CBS) -- With temperatures hovering around 0 degrees and snow on the way, city officials encourage people to check on their neighbors, especially the elderly. But, some are reluctant to leave their homes, even though their homes lack proper heating.

June Bowman-Sims' bedroom is off limits because it's so cold inside, you can see your breath.

The thermostat registers 46 degrees, but it feels even colder.

Bowman-Sims' furnace went out more than a week ago. The 77-year-old retired nurse owns the three-flat, but she's the only tenant and can't afford to repair it.

Boiling water provides some heat, and a small space heater helps a bit but not much.

She sleeps in the living room, surrounded by her paintings.

She loves to paint, but right now it's too cold for the hobby.

As bad as it is, Bowman-Sims won't leave.

"I'm not leaving my house," she said.

She's concerned about someone breaking into her home, but neighbors were concerned about her. So they called the alderman, and he called community activist Andrew Holmes.

"I'm getting in touch with the Department of Aging to see what I can do to get us some help," Holmes said. "I'm not going to stop until I get her some help."

Holmes' goal is to get Bowman-Sims to a warming center, figure out how to fix her furnace and then get her back home as soon as possible.

Since this cold snap hit Thursday, the city's Department of Buildings has received just under 200 complaints about heat.

If you are a renter and your landlord is not providing adequate or no heat, call the landlord and contact 311 for help.

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