Our Stories

News and insights from The Night Ministry community.

Decades of Systemic Housing Discrimination Contribute to the Overrepresentation of Black Americans Among the Nation’s Homeless

redline A color-coded map issued by the federal government in 1940 showing the southern portion of the metro Chicago area. Neighborhoods in red, where African Americans lived, were deemed too risky for investment.

As The Night Ministry continues its series of articles exploring the intersection between race and homelessness, we delve into a theme that weaves through more than a century of national and local history: how systemic housing discrimination has contributed to disproportionate numbers of Black Americans among those experiencing poverty and homeless...

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Pregnant and Parenting Program Bedrooms Get Special Makeovers

pwp One of the eight redesigned bedrooms at the Parenting with Purpose program.

The young mothers and children who reside at The Night Ministry's Parenting with Purpose transitional living program are enjoying homey bedrooms uniquely designed for the comfort and privacy of families, thanks to a partnership with nonprofit Humble Design Chicago. Humble Design Chicago provides custom interior design services and furnishings for t...

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Street Medicine Programs Collaborate to Improve Care for the Unsheltered

Loyola Street Med Members of the Loyola chapter of Chicago Street Medicine working with The Night Ministry at the CTA Blue Line stop in Forest Park.

When The Night Ministry began piloting its street medicine approach six years ago, bringing health care services directly to individuals living in encampments, it was the first program of its kind in Chicago. Today, the agency's Street Medicine Team serves as a model and a hub in the burgeoning network of street-based medical outreach programs curr...

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The Night Ministry Engages in Dialogue and Examination to Foster Racial Equity

20220204-011758equity The Night Ministry is working to realize racial equity across its programs and departments.

The Night Ministry is taking steps to realize racial equity in its day-to-day operations, a process which involves becoming an anti-racist organization. The agency's mission makes it imperative for The Night Ministry to take these steps, said Chief of Staff Traci Rivera. "We have a social responsibility to move things forward. Systemic racism and i...

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COVID Continues to Create Barriers for Chicago’s Homeless Population

client card Marcus, a client of the Health Outreach Program, with the COVID vaccination card he received after getting a booster shot from The Night Ministry.

The temperature is dropping on an already cold January morning. Still, Marcus, a client of The Night Ministry's Health Outreach Program, has removed his coat and sweatshirt and pulled his arm out of his shirt sleeve so Stephan Koruba, The Night Ministry's Senior Nurse Practitioner, can give him a COVID vaccination booster. Marcus had lost his vacci...

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The Night Ministry in the News

IMG_410_20220131-174158_1 The Night Ministry's mission is featured in The Chicago Sun-Times.

The Night Ministry's ongoing work to provide services to members of our community experiencing homeless as the COVID-19 pandemic continues is featured in a recent column by Neil Steinberg of The Chicago Sun-Times. ‘The need gets larger and larger’ - Chicago Sun-Times Overtaxed social service agencies struggle to cope with COVID-19 and help the city...

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President & CEO Paul Hamann Speaks with Hubbard Helps

hubbard-helps-image-web Scroll down to listen to the interview.

The Night Ministry's President & CEO, Paul Hamann, spoke with Hubbard Helps, a program of Hubbard Radio about homelessness in Chicago, our impact in the community, the challenges of COVID, and more. This interview was first broadcast on January 9, 2022. 

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The Promise of a New Year: A New Year's Reflection by Our President & CEO

paul Paul W. Hamann is the President & CEO of The Night Ministry

December 31, 2021Dear Friend,Call me a sentimental optimist, but I still believe in the promise inherent in a new year. When hanging up a new wall calendar and swiping into the next year on my phone, I am excited by the opportunities 12 fresh months and 365 brand new days can bring. That sense of excitement is palpable here at The Night Ministry as...

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Youth Programs to Offer More Flexible Long-Term Housing Solutions

pathwaysweb Terrell Carter, Program Specialist (left), talks with two residents of the new Pathways Transitional Living Program.

The Night Ministry is restructuring aspects of its Youth Programs to offer more flexible long-term housing and deepen the impact of its services to young people experiencing homelessness. "We are making these changes in response to the evolving challenges faced by the population and to reflect demographic shifts among the youth we se...

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Straight Outta Quarantine

straight Straight Outta Quarantine” presenters, clockwise from the upper left: Malika, Persie, Maria, and Julie. Scoll down to watch the video.

The adversities brought by the COVID-19 pandemic have been met with persistence and matched by progress. That is the message underlying "Straight Outta Quarantine," a creative video presentation by members of Youth 4 Truth, The Night Ministry's leadership development program for young people who have experienced homelessness. The video premiered at...

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Homeless Count in Chicago May Have Dropped, but Are More People Exiting Homelessness?

190420-NightMinistry-street-team-1231-1 Nearly 60,000 Chicagoans experienced homelessness in 2019.

Data indicate that Chicago's homeless population has fallen over the last several years. But that doesn't mean the challenge of homelessness is going away. In a new study, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) reports that 58,723 Chicagoans experienced homelessness in 2019, down 16% from the year prior. The decline is part of a trend seen du...

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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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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 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 a budget for the fiscal year 2022 that includes over $1 billion for housing assistance and homele...

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