ROGERS PARK — The unclaimed remains of a man who fell ill then died after being evicted from the Astor House, a troubled Rogers Park apartment building, will be given "a dignified Jewish burial," supporters said Friday.
Charles Roth, 55, a recovering alcoholic, suffered from a bad liver and peripheral artery disease and had to be taken directly to the hospital after being evicted Dec. 13, the eve of the county's holiday eviction ban.
His condition worsened and he died less than a week later at Stroger Hospital.
Friends and supporters said they were unsure if Roth had any living relatives — and the remains were never claimed.
"We’re working to give him a dignified Jewish burial," said Chicago Jewish Funerals director Simcha Frank, who was working with Jewish social organization The ARK to obtain Roth's remains.
"There's no Jew in Chicago that goes without a dignified burial," said the funeral home's founder, David Jacobson, who added that his funeral home often buries Jews in need.
The home expects to bury Roth as soon as Monday, to the relief of James Barnett, Roth's former live-in caretaker.
"This would be a final gesture..." said Barnett.
The ARK's Rabbi Shlomo Tenenbaum said his organization would donate $3,000 to help Roth get "a decent and proper burial."
Astor House tenants have been struggling for more than a year with the apartment building's new owner, BJB Properties.
BJB had been renovating the troubled property at 1246 W. Pratt Blvd. and raising rents there since it took over at the end of 2012. Activists and residents had protested BJB's plans, which resulted in many long-time tenants leaving or being evicted, including Roth and Barnett and several other former tenants.
BJB, however, maintains their actions were proper and that most of the tenants had stopped paying rent.