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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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Revised Mission Statement Recognizes Primacy of Human Connection and Dignity of Clients

Princess (right), a resident of the Pathways Transitional Living Program, speaks with Program Specialist Tracy Walker.

The Night Ministry has revised its mission statement, as it continues to pursue innovative solutions to the challenges of homelessness and poverty in Chicago while remaining true to its core beliefs. "We are not changing our mission," said Paul W. Hamann, President & CEO of The Night Ministry. "Rather, we have updated our mission statement...

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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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Overdose Reversal Drug Is a Key Tool in Saving Lives

Substance Use Specialist Yoela Tepper assembles a harm reduction kit, which includes the overdose reversal drug Narcan.

Deaths from drug-related overdoses have soared in recent years in the United States. With opioid use common among a segment of the population The Night Ministry serves, the agency is often on the front lines in efforts to save lives by preventing overdose deaths among Chicagoans who are unhoused. Naloxone, a non-addictive medication that can revers...

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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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Reap the Rewards

The Night Ministry community recently gathered to celebrate milestones of service among our passionate and dedicated staff. Our Reap the Rewards luncheon, the first held since the pandemic, honored employees with 15, 10 and 5 years of service with The Night Ministry. Please join us in recognizing the following:  15 Years 10 Years 5 Years Yasmi...

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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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Lighting Up the Night 2022

On June 13, 2022, nearly 300 of our friends gathered with our staff and Board of Directors for Lighting Up the Night: An Evening to Benefit The Night Ministry. During our first in-person benefit since 2019, we raised more than $370,000 in support of our mission to provide human connection, housing support, and health care to members ...

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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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The Night Ministry in the News

The Night Ministry's mission has been featured in the news lately.

Our ongoing work to provide human connection, housing support, and health care to members of our community who are unhoused or experiencing poverty has been featured in the news lately. The Night Ministry transforming lives of Chicago's homeless by bringing services directly to them. Suzanne Le Mignot from CBS 2 Chicago explores how our mission mak...

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

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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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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Pregnant and Parenting Program Bedrooms Get Special Makeovers

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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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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