About The Night Ministry

Our Mission

The Night Ministry is a Chicago-based organization whose mission is to provide human connection, housing support, and health care to those who are unhoused or experiencing poverty. With an open heart, we compassionately accept each individual as they are and work alongside them to advocate for their immediate physical, emotional, and social needs while affirming our shared humanity.

Our History


Our Founding

A coalition of diverse North Side congregations hires Rev. Tom Behrens to reach out to people where they gather at night in response to isolation, despair, and homelessness among individuals on the streets. Tom’s first office is the trunk of his car.


Addressing Youth Homelessness

Tom meets a young person experiencing homelessness, raising his awareness of the issues faced by homeless youth. He begins working to improve services for them.


Volunteers Come On Board

We begin recruiting volunteers to help with street outreach and hire a staff member to begin outreach with homeless youth.


Outreach and Health Ministry Program

We acquire a mobile home vehicle and begin our Outreach and Health Ministry Program to bring free basic medical care to locations where services are needed most.


Open Door Shelter

Our Open Door Shelter in Lakeview begins housing homeless youth ages 14 to 21.


Health Outreach Expansion

We purchase a new customized Health Outreach Bus and expand services to six nights a week and to include neighborhoods on the South Side.


Local and National Recognition

We receive the Governor’s Hometown Award, Chicago Department of Public Health’s Award of Excellence, and the Illuminator Award from Web MD.


Rapid HIV-Testing

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awards us a grant to pilot rapid HIV-testing on the Health Outreach Bus, one of the first non-clinical mobile settings for the new test.


New Youth Housing Programs

We double our bed capacity by opening two new youth housing programs—the Response-Ability Pregnant and Parenting Program (RAPPP) and the STEPS Transitional Living Program.


The Crib

We open The Crib, an emergency overnight shelter for young adults ages 18 to 24. It becomes a model for youth shelters in Chicago and is recognized for its LGBTQ-competent services.


New Health Outreach Bus

A new, custom-designed 38-foot Health Outreach Bus allows us to more effectively deliver health care and expand our services on the streets of Chicago.


Street Medicine

We launch the Street Medicine Pilot Project to serve the hardest-to-reach homeless individuals in encampments across Chicago.


Phoenix Hall

Phoenix Hall, a residence for North Lawndale College Prep High School students experiencing homelessness, opens as part of the North Lawndale Student Housing Initiative.


Health Outreach Expands

Street Medicine becomes a permanent part of our Health Outreach and Ministry Program.


A New Home

The Night Ministry moves into its new headquarters in Bucktown. In addition to housing our central administration, the facility is the new home of The Crib overnight shelter and Health Outreach Program.


The Campaign for The Night Ministry

Under the leadership of former President & CEO, Paul W. Hamann, The Night Ministry successfully completes a major fundraising initiative to ensure the agency's ability to continue providing innovative and impactful services in the future.


New Youth Programs

The Night Ministry expands housing options for unhoused young adults with new programs that offer more longer-term and independent living situations coupled with supportive services.

1735 North Ashland Avenue, Suite 2000, Chicago, IL 60622 | 773-784-9000
The Night Ministry is a 501(c)3 charitable organization. Our Federal Tax ID (EIN) is 36-3145764.