Since launching in 2020, the Flexible Housing Pool for Youth, a collaboration between the Center for Housing and Health and other Chicago nonprofits, has helped 325 unhoused young adults access permanent housing through rent subsidies and supportive services. The Night Ministry plays a key role in the program by offering ongoing case management to nearly a third of the program's participants.
"Our goal is to give our clients the best shot they can have at sustaining their own housing," said Steven Dougherty, The Night Ministry's Flexible Housing Program Manager.
The Night Ministry's involvement has grown from a caseload of 20 households when the program launched, to 95 currently. Five Housing Case Managers lead the charge, offering extensive in-person support, including through apartment visits. Staff are in contact with their clients multiple times per month.
Housing Case Managers must be on their toes, as every day brings new needs and requests. They may be helping one client apply for public benefits, accompanying another to visit food pantries, and helping yet another navigate landlord-tenant relations, all while being on call for whatever additional needs may arise.
"We are, for a lot of our clients, the only supportive adult that they have," Housing Case Manager Maya Rudder shared. "We do our best to promote them being independent, but they also know that if they fall short, they still have somebody looking out for them."
The program's clients have a 92% housing retention rate, which means that the vast majority of program participants remain stably housed. And that level of security and stability is vital to helping them grow. With The Night Ministry's support behind them, residents have a chance to reach beyond meeting just their survival needs.
"We work with people at a very exciting stage of their lives when they are developing, growing, and learning a lot about themselves," said Housing Case Manager Brianna Bueltmann.
Fellow Housing Case Manager Bridget Thomas elaborated further: "We see clients go from not knowing where they're going to sleep at night, to signing a lease, being happy, and starting to accomplish goals."