The Night Ministry Provides Human Connection to Chicagoans in Need
The Night Ministry is a Chicago-based non-profit whose mission is to provide housing, health care, and human connection to community members struggling with poverty or homelessness. With an open heart and an open mind, we accept people as they are and address their immediate physical, emotional and social needs while affirming their sense of humanity.
Our young adult shelters located in Lakeview, West Town and North Lawndale offer homeless or precariously housed young people ages 14-24 a safe and supportive place to stay. During 2020, our shelters provided safe housing to 507 young people and 38 of their children through our five housing programs including:
• An emergency overnight shelter
• A shelter for pregnant and parenting young women
• An interim shelter for young people
• A transitional living program for young adults
• A shelter for high school students in North Lawndale
Our Health Outreach Bus is a 38-foot custom bus that travels on a regular schedule to 7 neighborhoods including Rogers Park, South Shore, Pilsen, and Douglas Park. We not only build relationships with people visiting our bus but also provide essential survival, health and case management services. Guests to the bus may see our onboard Nurse Practitioners to receive treatment for wounds and chronic injuries, STD/STI or HIV testing, food, a hot or cold drink depending on the season, and conversation with our volunteers. In the past year our Health Outreach Bus made 35,000 outreach contacts with young adults and adults seeking services and provided more than 1,600 health assessments.
Our Street Medicine team sets out with backpacks of medical and survival supplies into parks and forest preserves and under viaducts where the hardest-to-reach homeless populations often gather or set up encampments. Team members first address immediate health needs and then link individuals to case management and medical homes. Each year The Night Ministry team cares for hundreds of conditions that would otherwise go untreated.
One resident, who we will call Noelle, arrived at the Interim Housing Program after she left her home because of an abusive grandmother. After learning her story, one of The Night Ministry’s Case Managers reached out to her grandfather to verify needed information and ended up having a long and heartfelt conversation. The Case Manager learned that he and the Noelle’s grandmother were going through a divorce, and that both Noelle and the grandfather were forced to leave their home. Although they had a car to live in, the grandfather became very concerned for Noelle’s health as the temperatures rose throughout summer. After much convincing, Noelle finally called 311 and was able to seek shelter at Interim.
The Night Ministry’s Case Manager then worked across departments to gather resources that could be given to the grandfather. The Case Manager explained, “because many of our clients come in without such support, it's easy to focus on them only, especially in the beginning of our work. This was a different experience because, even though her grandfather was not my client, helping him was what she needed at the time.” The Case Manager was able to build trust with Noelle and work to provide her with the support that she needed most. After building a relationship with Noelle by helping her grandfather, the Case Manager explained that she was able to express herself and really feel safe. The Case Manager said, “Nolle expressed that she was so happy to be at Interim, and whenever we meet for case management she emphasizes, that this is the structure she’s always needed”.
For more than 40 years, The Night Ministry has been committed to providing housing, health care and human connection to those experiencing poverty and homelessness.
Please consider supporting the efforts of The Night Ministry to help the 80,000 individuals in Chicago who experience homelessness each year.