Fulfilling Our Mission during the COVID-19 Pandemic

“During these challenging times, The Night Ministry’s mission has not and will not change. Our organization is called to provide housing, health care, and human connection to the poor and homeless. That is it. Period. We will not waver from this mission.”

Paul W. Hamann
President & CEO
The Night Ministry

Updates on Our Services

Health Outreach Bus Temporary Schedule

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.

See the updated schedule.

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 Is Operating Around the Clock

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.

Youth Outreach Team Thursday Night Outreach Suspended

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.

Volunteer Shifts Suspended

Individual volunteer shifts, excluding volunteer medical providers already working in our programs, have been cancelled.

For more information, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Why Our Work Is Important Now

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.

What We Are Doing

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.

More about our Health Outreach Programs during the Pandemic
  • The Health Outreach Bus is making all of its stops in the seven Chicago neighborhoods it regularly visits, with abbreviated hours to prevent individuals from congregating for extended periods of time. Here individuals can see a Nurse Practitioner, procure medicines such as asthma inhalers and pain relievers, get a meal, and receive hygiene supplies.

  • Our Street Medicine Teams are out seven days a week, bringing health care, medicine, food, and survival supplies directly to our community members in encampments, parks, and street corners across the city.

All of The Night Ministry’s five Youth Housing Programs, which include 61 beds plus cribs, are operating, providing safe, supportive environments for young people experiencing homelessness, and their young children, in which to shelter in place and receive meals and supportive services.
More about our Youth Housing Programs during the Pandemic
  • The Crib, our overnight shelter for young adults, is currently operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to serve guests who now have fewer options of places to be during the day. Lakeview Lutheran Church, The Crib’s current home, has graciously allowed us to utilize additional space to create appropriate distance between clients.

  • Residents of our Youth Housing Programs continue to receive case management services via phone call or video chat, as case managers are working from home. Residents who receive mental health services from Rush University Medical Center can continue to participate in therapy through video sessions.

  • Resource rooms with computers are available for residents who are students so they may continue their e-learning while schools are closed.

  • As residents of our STEPS Transitional Living Program purchase and prepare their own food, we are providing food resources to those who have lost their jobs or had their hours cut.

  • Staff have developed and distributed a COVID-19 guide to young people served by The Night Ministry.

How You Can Help

Make a Financial Contribution

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.

Make an In-Kind Donation

The Night Ministry is in need of the following items to help us continue serving our clients.

  • Face masks* 
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Surgical and N95 respirator masks
  • Food:
  • Jewel-Osco gift cards
  • Restaurant gift cards

*Sewn face masks are preferred but handmade are acceptable. See instructions for making masks on the CDC website.

Please contact Miranda Dean, Resource Coordinator, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 773-506-6022 to make arrangments to donate these items.

Support Our Meal Programs

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.

To make arrangements to donate sack suppers or provide meals for The Crib, please email Brittany Caine-Conley, Community and Congregational Relations Coordinator, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Join Us in Advocacy

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.

Housing, health care, and access to food are human rights.

With a heightened sense of urgency, we advocate to:

  • Leverage emergency funding so every Chicagoan experiencing homelessness exits the emergency YMCA shelters and isolation hotels on a pathway to permanent housing.
  • Increase funding for homeless prevention services, place a moratorium on eviction filings, and create a process that leads to forgiveness for rent and mortgage payments so that no Chicagoans become homeless due to the medical and economic consequences of COVID-19.
  • Create funding opportunities that include the quality health care services provided by “Free and Charitable Clinics” in Chicago and across Illinois.
  • Provide mobile health care providers and street medicine teams with rapid COVID-19 testing, which provides the most efficient line of defense for our communities experiencing homelessness.
  • Increase monthly Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits by 15% to meet the increased need for food in our community.
  • Extend through the end of the pandemic the Families First Act provision allowing states to increase each SNAP household’s benefit to the maximum amount for their household size.
  • Suspend all SNAP regulations that would result in a termination of or reduction in benefits. During this time, no individual or family in Illinois should lose food assistance.

Check back for specific actions you can take to join us in advocacy.

The Night Ministry in the News

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.

How the Pandemic Is Impacting Childhood Homelessness. WGN-TV News, May 19, 2020.

Homeless Chicagoans Could Face "Major Fallout" from COVID-19. Belt Magazine. May 8, 2020.

Nearly Empty of Regular Commuters, CTA Trains Are now Carrying Essential Workers and the Homeless. Chicago Tribune, April 23, 2020.

For Chicago Homeless Students, School Provided more than an Education. Here's How They Are Coping. Chalkbeat, April 21, 2020.

Chicago's Night Ministry Turns Overnight Shelter into 24/7 Home. WBBM Newsradio, April 15, 2020.

Homeless during a Pandemic. Chicago Reader, April 14, 2020.

Public Health Groups Strengthen Support for HomelessNewsy, April 14, 2020

COVID-19 Across Chicago: Boystown. WTTW Chicago Tonight, April 9, 2020

"It Hurts"—Food pantries shut down, shelters try to cope amid coronavirus crisis. Chicago SunTimes, March 25, 2020

Street Medicine: Treating Chicago’s Homeless During the Coronavirus Outbreak. WTTW Chicago Tonight, March 20, 2020

"I'm Still in Shock"—How Chicagoans, from Creatives to Nonprofit Staff, Are Being Affected by the Novel Coronavirus—and What We Can All Do to Help. Chicago Reader, March 19, 2020

Homeless Shelters Brace for Coronavirus Outbreak among Closures, Larger Prevention Efforts. Chicago Tribune, March 17, 2020

Outbreak Voices: How Coronavirus Has Changed a Chicago Nurse's Work with Homeless. NPR, March 14, 2020

Chicago Coronavirus "Could Spread Like Wildfire" among Homeless without Proper Precautions, Advocates Say. ABC7 Chicago, March 12, 2020


Important Links

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.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 website

Illinois Department of Public Health COVID-19 website

Chicago Department of Public Health COVID-19 website

Mailing address: 4711 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago, IL 60640 |
Phone: 773-784-9000 |
Fed Ex, UPS, DHL Delivery address: The Night Ministry, c/o Edgewater Presbyterian Church, 1020 West Bryn Mawr Ave., Chicago, IL 60660