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Our Stories

News and insights from The Night Ministry community.

Celebrating 45 Years: The Foundations of The Night Ministry

tom-min The Rev. Tom Behrens (right), is The Night Ministry’s Founding President & Former CEO.
By Paul W. Hamann, MA, MNAPresident & CEO The Night Ministry was formed 45 years ago when a diverse coalition of Chicago-based congregations hired the Rev. Tom Behrens to reach out to individuals struggling with homelessness, isolation, and despair during the lonely overnight hours. Tom was a minister of the United Church of Christ. But as he t...
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Celebrating 45 Years: The Night Ministry Pioneers Mobile Health Care on Chicago's Streets

bus-story-min The Rev. Peter Brick (left) speaks with a client outside the Health Outreach Program’s first vehicle, a converted RV.
For the first fourteen years of the agency's history, The Night Ministry staff conducted outreach on their feet, supporting the community members they encountered while walking the nighttime streets of Chicago. Realizing that many of those individuals had unaddressed health challenges, in 1990 The Night Ministry added a mobile health care component...
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Celebrating 45 Years: The Night Ministry Opens Its First Youth Shelter in a Time of Dire Need

lakeview-story-min Residents and staff enjoy a meal together at The Night Ministry’s first youth shelter in Lakeview.
By the close of the 1980s, Chicago's population of unsheltered young people had reached an estimated 10,000 individuals per year. State law prohibited nonprofits from operating group shelters for them, leaving youth experiencing homelessness with few, if any, options for a safe place to spend the night. "At the time, if you were a young person, you...
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Celebrating 45 Years: West Town Facility Enhances and Expands Services for Homeless Youth

west-town-min Program Specialist Henry Merrill (right) speaks to a resident of the Interim Housing Program at the Open Door Shelter—West Town facility.
On August 3, 2006, the residents of The Night Ministry's Open Door Shelter–Lakeview packed up their belongings and made the journey, along with the shelter's staff, to a newly rehabbed facility in Chicago's West Town neighborhood. The move came nearly 14 years after the Interim Housing Program, providing up to four months of supportive shelter to y...
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Celebrating 45 Years: The Crib Turns Homeless Advocates' Vision into Reality

crib-min Youth from H.E.L.L.O. and members of The Night Ministry staff with former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley at City Hall in August 2009.
The Crib, The Night Ministry's overnight shelter for young adults experiencing homelessness, owes much to a group of young change makers called Homeless Experts Living Life's Obstacles (H.E.L.L.O.). For years, H.E.L.L.O. members would meet weekly to discuss their experiences and insights as young Chicagoans struggling with homelessness. Their big b...
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Celebrating 45 Years: The Night Ministry Launches Chicago's First Street Medicine Program

street-medicine-min The Night Ministry’s Street Medicine Team assisting clients along Lower Wacker Drive. Photo by Lloyd DeGrane.
By 2015, The Night Ministry's Health Outreach Bus had been on the road for 25 years, providing free health care to Chicagoans experiencing poverty or homelessness, but the agency sensed it could be making a wider impact on the streets. "There was this inkling that we could reach more people who were really falling between the cracks if we were a li...
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Street Medicine Volunteer Physician Dr. Aaron Brinkman is Dedicated to Service

Dr-Brinkman Dr. Aaron Brinkman (left), a volunteer physician, treats a Street Medicine patient.
Even before Dr. Aaron Brinkman joined The Night Ministry's Street Medicine team as a Volunteer Physician, he sought ways to provide medical care to those living on the streets. Though Brinkman had a busy professional life as a primary care physician and a National Guard Commander, a television show featuring Pittsburgh's pioneering street medicine ...
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187 Hits

Youth Struggling with Homelessness Have Varied Experiences of the Pandemic

youthcovidstory College and high school students served by The Night Ministry adjusted to online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, as students around the world did.
Young people served by The Night Ministry have faced a variety of disruptions and challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to interviews conducted with several clients of the organization's Youth Programs, their experiences of the changes, adversities, and opportunities brought by the pandemic, while sharing some commonalities, have also ...
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Health Outreach Offers Support to Spanish Speakers Experiencing Homelessness

Pilsen-min The Health Outreach Bus in Pilsen, a Chicago neighborhood where The Night Ministry serves many clients for whom Spanish is the primary language.
The sounds of Spanish are often heard along the routes of the Health Outreach Bus and the Street Medicine Team, The Night Ministry's Health Outreach programs that bring free health care and other essential resources into communities across Chicago. "Staff are out speaking Spanish with people every day," said Stephan Koruba, Senior Nurse Practitione...
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Advocacy Efforts to Support Homeless Population Rewarded as Key Legal Measures Pass in Springfield

210624-NightMinistry-NobleHouse-IMG_5064 The 2022 Illinois state budget includes an increase in funding for homeless youth programs.
The Night Ministry and partner organizations such as the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless and the Illinois Association of Free and Charitable Clinics have been busy urging state lawmakers to back funding and legislation supporting Illinois residents experiencing homelessness and poverty. These efforts have paid off with Governor Pritzker signing ...
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The Night Ministry Welcomes Volunteers Back to Programs

Volunteer Louise Goodman (left) provides sack suppers to visitors of the Health Outreach Bus in the South Shore neighborhood.
Volunteers play an essential role in The Night Ministry's ability to effectively fulfill its mission. Out of caution, the agency suspended volunteer shifts at its Health Outreach and in its Youth Housing Programs when the pandemic began. However, with cases trending downward and vaccination access expanding, The Night Ministry began to bring volunt...
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Why We're Really All in This Together: A Fiscal Year-End Reflection by Our President & CEO

paul Paul Hamann is the President & CEO of The Night Ministry.
Dear Friend, There are phrases that have been spoken and written so many times over the last year or so that they have nearly lost their meaning. "Getting used to the new normal." "We are living in unprecedented times." "We're all in this together." I'm sure you can think of others. Frankly, I'd be happy to never hear or read them again. Yet a...
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Street Medicine Offers Medical Residents an Eye-Opening Perspective on Health Care

lin Dr. Nathan Lin (right), a medical resident, prepares to provide a COVID-19 vaccine to a Street Medicine patient.
For more than a year, The Night Ministry's Street Medicine Program has been welcoming medical residents—physicians who are receiving their post-graduate training—to join staff in providing health care and supportive services to Chicago's unsheltered homeless population. The residents gain valuable hands-on experience while assisting the Street Medi...
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Board Member’s Work in Affordable Housing Connects to Service with The Night Ministry

Applegate Board Member Bennett Applegate, Jr., seen here speaking at the 2019 Lighting Up the Night benefit, is an attorney specializing in the development of affordable housing.
Serving on The Night Ministry's Board of Directors is an extension of the professional life of Bennett Applegate, Jr. Applegate is an attorney whose legal practice focuses on the financing and development of affordable housing. "If you look at the spectrum of housing solutions, I'm involved in the area of permanent housing, whereas The Night Minist...
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Tax Filing Event Helps Clients Get Stimulus Payments

tax-event Parker Baum (right), a volunteer with The Night Ministry, assists Mary, a client, with filing her 2020 taxes during a drop-in event to help individuals served by the organization receive stimulus payments for which they were entitled.
Millions of Americans have received three rounds of pandemic relief stimulus payments from the federal government. But many individuals experiencing homelessness who are eligible, and could benefit greatly from the economic assistance, have only gotten a portion of what they are entitled to, or they have not received anything at all. "Many of the f...
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Peer Support Advocate Brings Lived Experience to the Street Medicine Team

keit_20210423-151726_1 Keith Belton (right), Peer Support Advocate, brings lived experience to the Street Medicine Team.
Keith Belton brings unique experience and perspective to The Night Ministry's Street Medicine Team. As a Peer Support Advocate, he has struggled with many of the same challenges that some of The Night Ministry's clients do. "I grew up in an abandoned building on the West Side of Chicago," Belton said. "With my mom, there were five of us kids living...
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Statement on Adam Toledo

tnmlog_20210416-200437_1
The killing of Adam Toledo by the Chicago Police is yet another grim and sobering reminder that people of color, in particular youth, are far more likely to be killed by police. Adam was a victim of not only a police system in need of major reform, but societal forces that continue to discriminate against youth of color while withholding opportunit...
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492 Hits

At STEPS, Tax Season is an Opportunity to Teach Lifelong Financial Lessons

anthony Anthony Monterroso, Case Manager at STEPS, meets with a resident of The Night Ministry’s transitional living program. (Photo taken February 25, 2020)
During tax season, it is unsurprising that many residents at STEPS, The Night Ministry's transitional living program for young adults experiencing homelessness, might need a hand with their taxes. Though STEPS provides housing to young people ages 18 to 22, it is not the program's only focus. In addition to case management services, clients are als...
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Volunteering with The Night Ministry Is Just One Way A Lifelong Chicagoan Serves the Community

181220-NightMinistryBus-1860 Volunteer Laura Diaz (left) provides a cup of coffee at the Health Outreach Bus (Photo taken 12/22/19).
Chicago resident Laura Diaz, who grew up in the Little Village neighborhood, is dedicated to giving back to the city in which she has lived all her life. One of the many ways she does that is by volunteering with The Night Ministry. Laura, a former Retail Operations Coordinator at True Value Hardware's corporate office, first heard about The N...
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Nordstrom Give-Back Brand, Treasure & Bond, Partners with The Night Ministry to Support Homeless Youth

t_20210302-211953_1 Nordstrom Made give back brand Treasure & Bond supports young people experiencing homelessness.
The Night Ministry is excited to announce that it has been chosen as a nonprofit partner of Treasure & Bond, a Nordstrom Made give-back brand that supports young people experiencing homelessness. Nordstrom is donating 2.5% of Treasure & Bond net sales to five organizations across the United States and Canada, including The Night Ministry. "...
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