Pizza Shop Owner Takes On $7,000 Fine To Continue Letting A Homeless Man Live Behind His Restaurant

He would rather face the fine then evict a homeless man who has nowhere else to go.

Eric Weber, homeless man sitting on the ground with a dog at his feet YouTube / Jne Valokuvaus / Shutterstock

After a pizza shop owner discovered a homeless man sleeping and living in a tent behind his restaurant, he decided to let him stay. However, he is now facing serious repercussions from city officials because of it.

Eric Weber, the owner of The Slice in Evansville, Indiana, told 44News that he refuses to evict the man since he has absolutely nowhere else to go, and while his resistance to banning the homeless man from staying behind his restaurant is heartwarming, he is, unfortunately, facing legal consequences in the meantime.


Weber is being fined up to $7,000 by the city for not evicting the homeless man living behind his Evansville pizza shop.

”I know it’s wrong just to kick a poor homeless guy down the street when you can provide care for him just as easily as anybody else can," Weber told 44News. Since finding the homeless man living in a tent behind his restaurant, Weber has taken it upon himself to help out where he can.

Due to his efforts to help, however, Weber is now being threatened with thousands of dollars in fines from city officials. He has already received a $500 fine from the Evansville Area Planning Commission which said the tent was a structure that violated a city ordinance for land use.


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The fine would increase rapidly every day and could eventually swell to more than $7,000 per day, the news outlet reported. Despite the high cost, Weber refuses to evict the homeless man and says he's letting him continue to stay there because it's the right thing to do.

"If you're looking at the greater good in this situation, the aesthetics of the alley and taking care of a homeless person, which one makes more sense?" Weber asked. ”They’re basically persecuting me because he lives out in a tent behind the shop between two different dumpsters."


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The rate of homelessness in the United States continues to rise.

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, they counted around 582,000 Americans experiencing homelessness in 2022. That's about 18 per 10,000 people in the U.S., and up about 2,000 people from 2020.

Homelessness can result from a combination of various factors, including lack of affordable housing, unemployment, substance abuse, and mental health issues.

While there needs to be more action taken by government officials to address the homeless crisis in this country, people like Weber are attempting to step up where it counts and help out others who need it — but there's only so much he can do.


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”I tried to find other people to help and other organizations, and every time I go down the road, it just never works. It’s always a dead end," he explained to 44News.

When trying to look for support to help the homeless man living behind his shop, he is instead often met with hollow compliments that he feels don't mean much to him. "So far, the end is always 'Oh, you’re a nice person,' and that’s it.” 

Weber told the news outlet that forcing the man to leave will only start a long series of displacements for him and create an impossibly unstable living situation. ”Either you kick him down the road until somebody complains," he said. "Then he gets kicked down the road again, or you deal with it."


"If you get him food and water and a basic shelter situation, it seems it could be done in an economical fashion that makes sense, and I definitely think the city could do it.”

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Nia Tipton is a Brooklyn-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.