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Occupy Chicago: Let us use your home, we won't get high there

Retired carpenter Terry Keenan is opening his home to 50 protesters who'll sleep there during the NATO Summit. Organizers want other Chicagoans to follow his suit. | TOM CRUZE~Sun-Times

Put up a protester – and give peace a chance.

That’s the message of activists who want Chicagoans to open up their homes, yards and businesses to out-of-town protesters during the coming NATO summit.

And any homeowners who fear they’ll end up hosting a hellish hippie scene in their house can rest easy, Occupy Chicago says – drugs and booze are banned.

“These peaceful protesters need a place to rest their head; somewhere to stay out of the cold and the rain and away from police who will throw them in jail simply for trying to sleep on public land,” the protest group says.

Thousands of protesters from across the United States and abroad are expected to come to Chicago for the weekend of May 18-21. While some have booked hostels and hotels, many more need a free place to sleep, according to organizers, who say they’ve laid down four ground rules for guests in other people’s homes: Leave no trace; respect your host; no drugs or alcohol, and no loud noise.

Retired Lincoln Square carpenter Terry Keenan, 59, is one of the homeowners who’ve agreed to welcome protesters. He expects a busload of 50 or so to sleep in his two-flat and camp in his yard.

“I’m doing it to say that we’re against NATO and the huge amounts of tax money that support it while we have no control over its policies,” Keenan said, adding that the protesters are “good-hearted people – I’ve got no worries about having them in my home.”

Last week, the Rev. Errol Narain offered the grounds of Trinity Episcopal Church to protesters. But protest organizers say they’re still looking for other sites that can accommodate large groups. They’re asking anyone with a home or site to offer to call them at (773) 536-9634.