Paul W. Hamann
President & CEO
The Night Ministry
Beginning Monday, March 23, the Health Outreach Bus will be running on a temporary emergency schedule with abbreviated hours. The Bus will continue to visit its regular neighborhoods but will spend a shortened amount of time at each stop.
While we will continue to provide health care and meals at the Bus, we are making this temporary adjustment to follow local, state, and federal regulations and guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you for understanding as we take this step to protect the health and safety of those whom we serve and our staff.
The Crib, our overnight shelter for young adults ages 18 to 24, is currently operating 24 hours a day. If you are a young adult in need of emergency shelter, please call 877-286-2523.
The Youth Outreach Team will not be holding their weekly outreach event at Belmont and Halsted on Thursday evenings for the time being.
Youth Outreach Case Managers are continuing to work and are available to support young people experiencing homelessness or housing instability. You may contact the Youth Outreach Team on their Facebook page.
Individual volunteer shifts, excluding volunteer medical providers already working in our programs, have been cancelled.
The young people, adults, and families that The Night Ministry serve are particularly vulnerable at this time. Those living on the streets may be at higher risk of contracting the coronavirus—it is difficult for them to self-isolate and practice hygiene measures. Many have compromised immune systems or underlaying health concerns. A new study estimates that individuals experiencing homelessness who get sick with COVID-19 will be twice as likely to require hospitalization, two to four times as likely to need critical care, and two to three times more likely to die than the general population.1
Those whom we serve are also hit hard by the pandemic’s impact on our economy and society. With minimal foot traffic on our streets, for example, individuals who rely upon panhandling to meet their basic needs are seeing that source of financial support dry up. The temporary respite from the streets provided by restaurants and public buildings such as libraries—a place to warm up, charge a phone, access wif-fi or a computer, and use bathroom facilities—is gone.
Meanwhile, with many businesses shuttered or running at reduced capacity, individuals and families living paycheck to paycheck find themselves scrambling, perhaps even panicking, to pay for housing, medicine, food, and other essentials. Those who have lost their jobs may also no longer have health care coverage.
1. Culhane, D., D. Treglia, K. Steif, R. Kuhn, & T. Byrne. Estimated Emergency and Observational/Quarantine Capacity Needs for the U.S. Homeless Population Related to COVID-19 Exposure by County; Projected Hospitalizations, Intensive Care Units and Mortality. National Alliance to End Homelessness, 2020.
Our Health Outreach Programs continue to serve individuals living on the streets as well as communities with limited resources and high concentrations of poverty and homelessness.
As individuals experiencing homelessness are more likely to visit an emergency room for medical care, the care provided by our medical professionals is particularly vital at this time. Last year, The Night Ministry’s Nurse Practitioners and Volunteer Physicians treated nearly 800 health care conditions that would have otherwise gone uncared for and prevented almost 350 trips to the emergency room, saving the public health system nearly $700,000. Any condition that we can treat through our Health Outreach Program now could potentially free up space in emergency rooms for COVID-19 patients.
The Night Ministry is incurring additional costs during this period for such items as food for our programs and emergency safety equipment as well as staff overtime and supplemental compensation to acknowledge essential employees who are required to work under challenging times.
You can support our mission during this challenging time by making a donation online or by calling 773-784-9000.
The Night Ministry is in need of the following items to help us continue serving our clients.
*Sewn face masks are preferred but handmade are acceptable. See instructions for making masks on the CDC website.
We continue to seek assistance with providing meals for our clients. We are collecting sack suppers for our Health Outreach Programs (The Bus and Street Medicine) and seeking hot meal deliveries for The Crib overnight shelter.
Sack suppers should include a sandwich (meat and cheese only, no condiments), fruit cup and a snack.
At The Crib, we are accepting breakfast, lunch, or dinner for 25 people. Meals may be dropped off or sent by delivery, but must be scheduled in advance.
As the COVID-19 pandemic lays bare our nation’s social and economic inequities and impacts the way we serve, live, and connect, we invite others to join us in affirming that housing, health care, and access to food are human rights.
With a heightened sense of urgency, we advocate to:
Check back for specific actions you can take to join us in advocacy.
The work of The Night Ministry and its dedicated staff during the pandemic have been featured in many recent news stories. Here are links to a few of them.
As collective knowledge about the coronavirus evolves, we are providing the following links to government websites where you may find updates on the pandemic, tips on how to protect yourself from the virus, what to do if you experience symptoms, and other important information.