The Night Ministry transforming the lives of Chicago’s homeless by serving them directly

CHICAGO (CBS) — The Night Ministry, in Bucktown, has been serving Chicago’s homeless population for nearly half a century. It is one of the first nonprofit organizations in Chicago to provide services directly to those in need.

CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot shows us how the organization’s work is transforming lives.

Members of The Night Ministry’s street medicine program visit the most vulnerable of Chicago’s homeless population: those living in encampments, parks, and under overpasses.

The organization began offering telemedicine appointments for psychiatric help, on the spot, during the pandemic.

“I can look for a job now,” said Teresa, one of The Night Ministry’s street medicine clients.

After nearly a decade of being on the streets, Teresa says the organization changed her life by finding her a place to live.

“They did for me in two months what I couldn’t do in eight years,” he said.

The Night Ministry health outreach bus provides counselling, free medical care, clothing, hygiene products and meals to those in need. It’s available day and night, six days a week, in inner-city Chicago neighborhoods like the South Shore, Garfield Park and Pilsen.

“For many of the people we serve, the health outreach bus is one of the few constant things in their lives that they can depend on,” said Paul Hamann, president and CEO of The Night Ministry.

The work of the Ministry of the Night does not end on the street. Your emergency night shelter is where homeless youth, ages 18-24, can come and stay, no questions asked. There are 21 beds in the shelter. Each and every one of them fills up every night, and customers call in also get whatever service they need.

The organization was recognized by the Make It Better Foundation for its work, winning in the social services category for the foundation’s Philanthropy Awards in 2021. The foundation is dedicated to expanding the work of nonprofit organizations in Chicago.

“If someone comes to us, what brought them here is not as important as what their future may hold,” Hamann said.

The Night Ministry recently began work on the CTA Red and Blue lines. They helped find housing for a man who had called CTA trains home for 25 years.

Those who are interested in applying for the Make It Better grant can click here.

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