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World News

Chicago pastor camps out for 365 days on a rooftop, raising over £16m for a new community centre

by Alex Collett

A pastor from Chicago has camped out on a makeshift rooftop for 365 days and raised over £16m the total of $20m for a new community centre. 

Corey Brooks, founder and senior pastor of New Beginnings Church of Chicago and founder and CEO of Project H.O.O.D. Communities Development Corporation has become a leading voice and presence in the fight against the violence gripping Chicago's poorest neighbourhoods.

He completed his 11-month vigil on Saturday, which he began in November 2021, after he started raising the money by camping out on a makeshift roof across the street from New Beginnings Church, located at 66th and King Drive. 

During his time outside, his mother died of cancer and his daughter welcomed a baby. 

Speaking to Fox News on Saturday, he described his joy at completing the challenge and what the new community centre will provide for Chicago.

He said: "This is a major celebration." 

He continued: "We talk about transformation, and trying to get rid of violence, trying to get rid of poverty; this community centre is going to be at the centre of making things different, helping people to transform their lives, helping them to change the trajectory of their lives. 

"Giving them a place where they can accept responsibility and start trying to do for themselves, to get on their feet. It's going to be a great place teaching trades, teaching business.

"It's going to be a place where you can get counselling, a phenomenal place for transformation."

This community centre will be built on the South Side in Woodlawn, 

Pastor Brooks braved wet, windy and cold nights atop the roof, enduring big storms, but continued to camp through it all. 

He says the most frightening times were when he could hear gunfire whilst camping outside. 

Speaking to Fox News on Day 154, he said: "Over 80 children have been shot in Chicago alone, the fact that our children cannot be outside, can't play, can't feel safe, is unacceptable."

Pastor Brooks says he still needs to raise another $15 million to complete the building without debt.

He will appeal to generous donors all over the country, through social media and travel.

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