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Our Stories

News and insights from The Night Ministry community.

Meet Terri Sharpp, Vice President of Operations

Terri Sharpp joined The Night Ministry as Vice President of Operations, a new position for the agency, in 2021.

Terri Sharpp brings a wealth of experience in finance, human resources, and strategic planning to her role as Vice President of Operations at The Night Ministry. We asked her to share about her background and her role at the agency. Please tell us about your professional background. My professional background includes diverse experience in governme...

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High Rates of Homelessness in the Black Community are Tied to Racial Bias in the Justice System

Black Americans who have been incarcerated experience higher rates of homelessness than formerly incarcerated white Americans. Data source: Prison Policy Initiative, 'Nowhere to Go: Homelessness Among Formerly Incarcerated People,' 2018.

Racial discrimination in the American justice system is nothing new. For centuries, Black Americans have faced an ideology that placed whiteness at the top and them at the bottom of a racial hierarchy, with unequal treatment under the law among its manifestations. According to the Equal Justice Initiative, Black people in America experience more un...

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Local Baker Sells Sweets to Support The Night Ministry

Betsy Peska, a local baker, sells her creations to fundraise for The Night Ministry.

The Night Ministry is lucky to have a community of generous supporters, many of whom have found creative ways to show their dedication to our mission. Among them is Betsy Peska, a long-time supporter and a talented baker who's found a way to use her skill with sweets to help those we serve: individuals and families who are unhoused or experiencing ...

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Community Spotlight: Humboldt Park

The Night Ministry's Health Outreach Bus parks beneath one of Humboldt Park's iconic steel flags.

Known for its lush, spacious park and its tight knit Puerto Rican community, Humboldt Park is a beloved green space and a culturally rich neighborhood. But its attractions haven't kept challenges at bay – and in recent years, they've led to a wave of gentrification that's displacing longtime residents. The Night Ministry is a frequent vis...

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Young People Learn Life Skills through Fun and Engaging Workshops

Program Specialist Ivory Hopkins (left) and Lead Case Manager Vichelle Frazier lead a workshop about technology and professional communication.

The Night Ministry's Youth Programs have launched a series of in-person workshops designed to teach a range of life skills to the young people the agency serves. Held at The Night Ministry's Bucktown headquarters, the workshops cover topics ranging from budgeting and apartment living to professional communication and technology. Instructors in...

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The Night Ministry and Rush University’s Health Fair for Youth Fosters Education and Enjoyment

Youth Programs participants join in the fun at the Health Fair, an event hosted by The Night Ministry and Rush University medical students.

Learning and fun went hand in hand this past June at The Night Ministry's Health Fair for Youth Programs participants, an educational event centered on sharing information about important health topics. The fair, which took place just outside the agency's Bucktown headquarters, was a joint effort cohosted with medical students from Rush Univer...

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Paralegal with Lived Experience Helps Improve Client Access to Public Benefits

Beth Warner (left), a paralegal with Legal Aid Chicago, joins the Street Medicine Team every week to help connect clients to public benefits such as food assistance.

Every Monday, paralegal Beth Warner joins The Night Ministry's Street Medicine Team as it takes free medical care, survival supplies, and more to those living on Chicago's streets. Working alongside the team, Warner helps clients enroll for public benefits such as Medicaid and food and cash assistance. Warner works for Legal Aid Chicago, a local or...

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Good Neighbor Guide Provides Suggestions for Engaging with Unhoused Community Members

Should I give money to people who are panhandling? Why do some people experiencing homelessness stay on the streets instead of going to a shelter? What causes homelessness in the first place? If you have ever asked these questions, The Night Ministry now has a Good Neighbor Guide on our website that provides some answers. "A lot of our support...

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Meet Lead Outreach Minister Juan Roca

Lead Outreach Minister Juan Roca provides coffee to a Health Outreach Bus visitor in Chicago's South Side neighborhood.

Lead Outreach Minister Juan Roca's passion for his work is palpable. He joined The Night Ministry in the fall of 2019, and since then has become an invaluable part of the agency's Outreach and Health Ministry Program. Roca works on the Health Outreach Bus, a custom-built vehicle that visits neighborhoods across Chicago with high concentrations of p...

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Community Spotlight: South Shore

The South Shore Cultural Center is an important landmark in this South Side neighborhood.

In the second installment of our series spotlighting neighborhoods we're active in across the city, South Shore takes centerstage. Located on Chicago's South Side along Lake Michigan, the community boasts natural beauty and plenty of assets including beachfront property, civic engagement, and architectural gems like the South Shore Cultural Center....

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Meet Chief of Staff Traci Rivera

Chief of Staff Traci Rivera came to The Night Ministry with extensive experience in both non-profit and for-profit settings.

Traci Rivera joined The Night Ministry in the newly created role of Chief of Staff in 2020. With an extensive career in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors, she brings her deep knowledge and experience to bare in helping to guide decision making and implementation across the agency. We asked her to share about her background and her role at ...

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Homelessness in the African American Community is Disproportionately High, with Causes Deeply Rooted in the Nation's Past

Black Americans are overrepresented in the population of people experiencing homelessness compared to their share of the overall U.S. population.

Homelessness is disproportionately experienced among historically marginalized groups in the United States, but for Black Americans, the disparity is especially stark. In Chicago, for example, despite making up about 30% of the general population, according to the City of Chicago 2021 Homeless Point-in-Time Count & Survey Report, African A...

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The Night Ministry Pilots Program to Quickly End Youth Experiences of Homelessness

Youth Diversion Specialist Anthony Monterroso helps his clients identify the resources they already have which could help them quickly end their experiences of homelessness. 

From The Crib emergency overnight shelter to its transitional living programs that offer up to two years of supportive housing, The Night Ministry's Youth Housing Programs provide a continuum of care for young people who are struggling with homelessness. Now, a new diversion program piloted by the agency aims to quickly end the amount of time that ...

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Community Spotlight: North Lawndale

In commemoration of Black History Month, we are proud to launch a new series of posts spotlighting neighborhoods we play a part in across the city. Over the next few months, we'll share brief histories and voices from residents working to empower the communities they call home. February's focus is North Lawndale, the site of our Pathways ...

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The Night Ministry’s Partnership with Local Nonprofit Working Bikes Empowers Youth Programs Clients

Youth Outreach Case Manager Allison Boyle and Lead Case Manager Michelle Thomas prepare to drop off supplies and a refurbished bike from Working Bikes to a client.

The Night Ministry's Youth Programs help young adults experiencing homelessness fulfill basic needs such as housing, but they don't stop there. Case Managers equip residents with tools to help them thrive. One way they do so is by tapping into connections with local partners like Little Village-based nonprofit Working Bikes, an organization that re...

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Students at Jonathan Burr Elementary Give Back by Supporting The Night Ministry

Members of the National Junior Honor Society at Bucktown's Jonathan Burr Elementary School organize drives to support The Night Ministry.

When The Night Ministry relocated its headquarters to Bucktown in summer 2020, the agency gained a generous neighbor in the Jonathan Burr Elementary School, whose students have made a habit of giving back. "Last year we were able to do a whole school food drive to help support The Night Ministry in the spring," said Middle School teacher Sarah Craw...

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Varying Definitions of Homelessness Impact Access to Services

The definition of homelessness utilized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development precludes many from qualifying for vital services and resources.

Who is identified as experiencing homelessness and who is not varies under federal definitions, and when interpretations of the term are strict, individuals and communities may be unable to access the resources they need. According to a recent report from the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH), the vast majority of those experiencing homeless...

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Street Medicine Volunteer Physician Dr. Aaron Brinkman is Dedicated to Service

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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