The Night Ministry’s overnight youth shelter, The Crib, first opened in January 2011 as a 4-month pilot program funded by the City of Chicago. The pilot project was a result of meetings between The Night Ministry’s youth advocacy group, H.E.L.L.O. (Homeless Experts Living Life’s Obstacles), and former Mayor Richard Daley. The Crib was the only overnight shelter for homeless youth ages 18 to 24 in Chicago, and the only program of its kind in the Midwest. Named by youth working with The Night Ministry, The Crib provided over 150 youth with safe shelter, warm meals, and supportive programming during the pilot phase.
The Crib is located at Lakeview Lutheran Church at 835 West Addison, and now operates year-round!
The Crib has grown substantially in its first two seasons, but continues to be an overnight space for young people ages 18-24 to get a hot meal, sleep, do yoga, dance, rest, and be safe. The space is welcoming to people of all genders and sexual orientations, and is open seven nights a week. We believe that every person deserves a warm, safe place to rest, and we do our best to build community with the 20 young people who come to stay with us each night. We now also have a new youth leadership program for guests of The Crib called the Crib Leadership Team, and young people from CLT lead activities in the space each night (discussion groups, game nights, poetry groups, etc).
The Crib is open from 9 p.m. until 9 a.m. each night and can accommodate 20 youth. The Crib is an important addition to Chicago’s efforts to care for youth who are on the streets, because there are only about 230 other shelter beds for youth in Chicago, while an estimated 2,000 young people experience homelessness every night. There are at least two staff members awake and on duty at all times. Staff also provide the youth with links to daytime supportive services.
For youth like Mileena, who has been homeless since the age of 15, The Crib provides a sense of security and belonging. Mileena explains that before The Crib, “I had no place else to go. At The Crib I have met wonderful staff and other youth. We have each other’s backs.”
“It’s like a family,” explains William, a member of The Night Ministry’s Youth Parliament leadership group and a frequenter of The Crib. “I have been homeless since I was 16. I was always trying to find a way to eat and stay warm. At The Crib, we have events like talent shows, yoga, and meditation. The staff cares and they help me out a lot. Now I’m blessed with everything I have.”
Every night The Crib has "gratitudes," where people can choose to share things they’re proud of or grateful for, and a nutritious dinner is served at 9:30 p.m. After dinner the youth can do homework, meet with staff, participate in activities, listen to music, take showers, and do laundry until “lights out” at midnight.
If you have further questions, Nate Metrick, The Crib Coordinator, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and Aram Mitchell, The Assistant Coordinator, can be reached at email@example.com. They can both be reached by phone at 773-506-3123. You can reach staff at The Crib daily between 8 p.m. and 10 a.m. at 773-549-4158.