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The Night Ministry transforming lives of Chicago's homeless by bringing services directly to them

Chicago group helping transforming lives the homeless
Chicago group helping transforming lives the homeless 02:11

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Night Ministry, in Bucktown, has been serving Chicago's homeless population for nearly half a century. It's among the first Chicago non-profits to bring services directly to those in need.

CBS 2's Suzanne Le Mignot showed 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 viaducts.

The organization started offering telemedicine appointments for psychiatric help, right 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," she said.

The Night Ministry's health outreach bus provides counseling, free healthcare, clothing, hygiene products, and meals for those in need. It's out day and night, six days a week, in underserved Chicago neighborhoods – like South Shore, Garfield Park, and Pilsen.

"For a lot of the individuals whom we serve, the health outreach bus is one of the few consistent things in their life that they can depend on," said Paul Hamann, president and CEO of The Night Ministry.

The Night Ministry's work doesn't end on the street. Their emergency overnight shelter is where homeless young people, between the ages of 18 and 24, can come to stay, no questions asked. There are 21 beds in the shelter. Every single one of them is filled each night, and clients call also receive any service that they need.

The organization was recognized by the Make It Better Foundation for their work -- winning in the social services category for the foundation's Philanthropy Awards in 2021. The foundation is dedicated to amplifying the work of non-profits in Chicago.

CBS 2 is a proud sponsor of the Philanthropy Awards.  

"If somebody comes to us, what brought you here is not as important as what their future can hold," Hamann said.

The Night Ministry recently started outreach on the CTA's Red and Blue lines. They helped find housing for a man who had called the CTA trains his home for 25 years.

Those who are interested in applying for the Make It Better Foundation Philanthropy Awards can click here.

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