Chicago religious leader opens community center after spending 345 nights on rooftop

After nearly a year of camping in the harsh conditions of Chicago’s South Side, Pastor Corey Brooks has finally left his home and opened his much-anticipated community center.

“We just decided it was the right time, the city needed hope, it needed inspiration,” Brooks said. “It’s going to put a lot of positivity and a lot of positive situations to use.”

On Nov. 20, 2021, Chicago’s religious leader climbed onto a makeshift roof built over cargo crates to raise awareness of ongoing gun violence the south side of town. The pastor hoped his leap of faith would bring attention to and educate some of America’s greatest minds about his neighborhood and help raise funds to build a new community center for his organization, Project HOOD (Helping Others Obtain Destiny).

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Since going up to the roof, Brooks has spent dozens of nights around a fire with people from all over the country. discuss faith, politics, culture and issues affecting American youth.

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What started as a 100 days of rooftop vigil turned into a nearly year-long campaign, eventually raise $20 million for the community center, which he hopes will revitalize the neighborhood. After 345 nights, Brooks came down from the roof to break ground at Woodlawn on October 29.

“I missed some things, but I’m also going to gain things, build relationships,” Brooks said. “Most importantly, we got enough support to put this center together.”

The pastor and a group of business and political leaders performed the groundbreaking ceremony for the 89,000 square foot Economic Leadership and Opportunity Center at 66th and King Drive, across from New Beginnings Church in Brooks. The center will provide support services and resources to the community and will have classrooms, community halls, restaurants, a gymnasium and a swimming pool.

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Pastor Corey Brooks slept on a Chicago rooftop for 345 nights to raise money and awareness about the violence in Chicago’s South End.
(FoxNews)

Ten years ago the Chicago pastor slept on a roof for nearly 100 days to raise enough money to tear down a crime-ridden motel, which is now the site of his new community center.

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Although he is still $15 million short of his $35 million goal for the center, Brooks said he wants to go ahead with construction, believing it will be fully funded by the time he does. will be ready to open in two years.

“We decided we wanted to move on because now is the perfect time,” Brooks said. “People really need help. We really need help. And we really want to see the transformation happen.”

“There’s no better time than now,” Brooks said.

Jill E. Washington