Watch CBS News

Chicago Man Says He's Been Without Heat For 13 Days, Bedroom Measures 28 Degrees: 'No One Should Have To Live This Way'

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Another night below freezing was on tap Wednesday night – and imagine struggling through it without heat.

As CBS 2's Marissa Parra reported, that has been the reality for a Chicago man for 13 days.

The man we spoke to lives in a Bronzeville apartment, and said a city inspector measured the temperature in his bedroom at 37 degrees.

City records on the building show this is not the first time.

Instead of bundling up to go outside, Joseph White has to wear all kinds of layers to stay inside.

"This is day 13 without heat," White said.

He uses his oven not for food, but for heat - whatever it takes to survive some of Chicago's coldest days

White said his landlord knows, but nothing has changed.

We did some digging. City records show the same landlord has owned the property since 1995.

And since then, the building has failed inspections four times - including this year

In 2014, the city noted that the heating was out of service, leaving the first-floor apartment bedroom at 40 degrees Fahrenheit. For some perspective, that's the same temperature as the inside of a refrigerator.

This time, it's worse

"My room temperature, the last time the inspector took it, it was 28 degrees," White said. "I had to move my bed into the living room."

White said he has been unemployed, and yet he has still paid his rent - and somehow, he still hasn't had heat for almost two weeks.

He is now wearing as many layers inside his bedroom as he would outside just to survive.

"This is illegal. It's crazy," White said. "No one should have to live this way. Regardless of whether you're up-to-date on rent or not, it's inhumane, and I'm not having it."

the city Buildings Department inspected the building Wednesday afternoon. The heat is still not operating correctly, and the building owner was cited.

"The Department of Buildings (DOB) has completed multiple inspections in the past two weeks at (the building where White lives) in response to 311 complaints by the tenant for no heat, including an inspection this afternoon. DOB issued building code violations for failure to provide adequate heat and gave the building owner time to complete the repairs. The inspection this afternoon determined the heating system is still not operating correctly, and DOB is forwarding the violations to the Department of Law to file a case in Circuit Court where a receiver can be appointed to make the repairs."

The DOB said it also offered relocation assistance, which the tenants declined.

We'll let you know when the heat is back on.


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.