February 2016

40 years of Housing, Health Care, and Human Connection

The year 2016 marks a major milestone in The Night Ministry's history - our 40th Anniversary!

In 1976, a group of  northside  congregations from diverse faith backgrounds founded The Night Ministry to serve individuals on Chicago's nighttime streets who were struggling with loneliness, despair, poverty, homelessness, and more.

Forty years ago, Rev. Tom Behrens worked out of the trunk of his car, providing outreach to those who needed it most in all-night laundromats, bars, street corners, and cafes, in the Lincoln Park and Lakeview neighborhoods, at night.

Founding President  & Former CEO
Tom Behrens

On Tuesday, February 9th, The Night Ministry kicked off a year of celebrations with an event at the Union League Club. We were joined by 200 of our closest supporters as we took some time to honor our past accomplishments and look toward the future with all of its many opportunities. We were fortunate to be joined by our Founding President and Former CEO, Tom Behrens.

Our President and CEO Paul W. Hamann commented in his speech on Tuesday evening that times have changed since 1976, but the need to assist those who are on the street has not changed. For example, a ccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the USDA and AAA, forty years ago, a gallon of gas was 59 cents. Today, that barely covers a postage stamp--one gallon of gas averages $1.97. Back in the 70s, when The Night Ministry was founded, a gallon of milk cost about $1.65. Today that price is up to an average of $2.25.

Paul W. Hamann,
President & CEO

Today, The Night Ministry and those who support its mission maintain the same unwavering commitment to serving those who are in need as did the congregations who founded us in 1976 and then hired The Rev. Behrens as its first employee. The need is great : more than 125,000 Chicagoans are experiencing homelessness; and more than 20,205 of those are students in Chicago Public Schools, according to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.
The Night Ministry continues to meet the needs of youth and adults who are experiencing poverty and homeless by:  
  • Providing 53 beds (including case management, life skills, etc.) to youth experiencing homelessness across 4 youth housing programs.
  • Helping youth to transition to more stable housing (over 60% transitioned to more stable housing in the last fiscal year).
  • Providing basic health care seven days per week.
  • Building relationships with those who seek The Night Ministry's services.
  • Providing services to the most at-risk individuals who reside in homeless encampments through a new pilot program called Street Medicine.
  • Continuing to be a national innovator and leader in the arena of housing services for homeless youth. In cooperation with North Lawndale College Prep High School, Empower to Succeed, and Old St. Patrick's Church, The Night Ministry plans to open a new youth program this fall, addressing the housing instability that affects about 10 percent of the school's population. This youth housing program that is directly connected to the high school is the first of its kind in Chicago, as its goal is to improve educational outcomes for youth.
  • Being dedicated to learning and to using the knowledge gained through qualitative and quantitative means to improve our services through Performance Measurement. For example, through Performance Measurement, we learned that 49% of Bus visitors had not eaten enough on the day they visited the Bus. Using this knowledge, The Night Ministry adjusted the time the Bus made certain stops in order to bring food to those in greatest need earlier in the evening.
Make a Gift

You can support The Night Ministry's work by giving a gift here. Thank you for helping us to provide housing, health care, and human connection to members of the Chicago community who are struggling with poverty or homelessness!
Paul W. Hamann
President & CEO
Upcoming Events
Associate Board Events
What: Emporium Arcade
When: Tuesday, March 24
Time: 7 p.m.
Where: 1366 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Cost" $10, covers food and arcade tokens
(tickets sold at the door)

What: Revolution Brewing
When: Tuesday, May 24
Time: TBA
Where: 2323 N. Milwaukee Ave.

For more details about these events or about the Associate Board, please e-mail

40th Anniversary Lighting Up the Night Dinner & Auction
When: June 1st at 5:30 p.m.
Where: Loews Chicago Hotel, 455 N. Park Dr.
For more information, please visit our Web site.

Van Tours
Tour The Night Ministry's programs at a Van Tour! Visit one of our youth shelter programs and one of our Health Outreach Bus stops. Youth ages 13-20 may attend as well!
Time: 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Where: Open Door West Town Shelter
Dates:  Wednesday, April 6
             T uesday, June 21
             Tuesday, July 19
Reserve your spot! E-mail krista@thenightministry.org
with your name, phone number, e-mail address, and date preference.

Challenge grant
The Night Ministry has been fortunate to receive a $25,000 challenge grant from one of our Board Members. We have been challenged to raise $25,000 in honor of The Night Ministry's 40th anniversary. If you have already responded to this challenge, thank you.  If you still wish to help us meet this challenge by making a special gift to The Night Ministry, you can donate here. Your donation will help us to respond to the many challenges faced by homeless, poor and medically vulnerable individuals who turn to The Night Ministry for help.

Thank you for your generosity, your compassion for whom we serve, and your commitment to The Night Ministry's mission.