Health Care, Housing, and Hunger
Of the neighborhoods surveyed, Pilsen demonstrated the highest need for medical care. Bus visitors in Pilsen were least likely to have a regular place to go for health care and more likely to go to the emergency room if the Bus was not available to them. Overall, 65% of guests in Pilsen saw the Nurse Practitioner in the past year, the highest percentage among all surveyed neighborhoods.
The rate of homelessness in Pilsen was substantially higher than in other neighborhoods as well. And housing stability is a high need in the South Shore neighborhood, where the highest percentage of guests reported being unstably housed.
Hunger remains a big issue for Bus visitors. More than 20% reported not having eaten anything before coming to the Bus, while nearly half said they had eaten that day but had not had enough food.
Awareness and Use of Services
Bus visitors were asked what services they are aware of and which ones they had accessed over the past year. Gregory Gross, Director of Mission Fulfillment at The Night Ministry, said the gap between awareness and use was much greater for HIV testing than other services on the Bus.
This tells us that knowing about HIV testing isn't enough for guests to get an HIV test.To overcome barriers related to stigma and misconceptions related to who is at risk of contracting HIV, we'll have to do more education to decrease the gap between awareness and use," he said.
Feedback from Bus Guests
For the first time, Night Ministry staff took the survey results back to Bus guests to get their impressions. Gross said this resulted in rich conversations.
"We ask about housing stability, which was quite high in most of the neighborhoods, and this led to conversations with guests who would share more about this, such as 'Yes, my housing is stable. I've lived there for six years; however, I wouldn't say it is adequate housing.' This process gave us ideas about how we might better ask some questions on the survey."
Gross said the results of the survey have prompted great discussions within The Night Ministry. "Outreach and Health Ministry staff will be continuing these conversations over the next year in regards to how to best serve the guests at the Health Outreach Bus," he said.
The Night Ministry's Impact
The Night Ministry provided services to more than 5,300 people through the Health Outreach Bus and our other programs in FY17.
to find out more about The Night Ministry's impact last year.