BUCKTOWN — Construction has begun inside the three-floor building that will soon house The Crib, the shelter catering to LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness that divided Bucktown neighbors earlier this year.
The Crib is scheduled to open at 1735 N. Ashland Ave. in March of 202o, Night Ministry spokesperson Burke Patten said this week.
Since receiving the green light from the city to move forward with The Crib, The Night Ministry has made good on its promise to engage with the Bucktown community, Patten said.
The nonprofit’s staffers attend CAPS meetings in the Shakespeare Police District and Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce events, he said. The Night Ministry also participated in Wicker Park Fest and the Bucktown Garden Walk.
Once completed, the first floor of the facility will be devoted to The Crib, while the second and third floors will house the group’s administrative and Health Outreach Program offices.
Earlier this year, news of The Crib pitted neighbors against each other. While some welcomed the idea of adding more social services to the neighborhood, others feared for the safety of the neighborhood’s children.
The Crib’s new home is sandwiched between the Kennedy Expressway and Walsh Park, and is adjacent to Jonathan Burr Elementary School.
Contending that the homeless shelter has a history of being “bad neighbors” to Lakeview families and pointing to a 2013 SWAT team response, some Bucktown residents pleaded with The Night Ministry to stop The Crib’s move to the neighborhood.
The Crib’s current digs are surrounded by nightclubs, bars and other entertainment venues in Boystown — factors the city’s Department of Family Services have said drive the neighborhood’s crime rate.
In response to resident concerns about safety, Ald. Scott Waguespack worked with The Night Ministry to draft a plan of operation — a legally binding document that ensures that The Crib follows a list of rules and protocols.
The shelter’s residents are between the ages of 18 and 24 and often identify as LGBTQ.
At 9 a.m., The Crib takes residents to the nearest CTA train stop. Most head to work, school or social services programming in Lakeview, Barbara Bolsen, vice president of strategic partnerships at The Night Ministry, told neighbors earlier this year.
During the last quarter of 2018, the shelter housed an average of 15 young adults who are homeless per night. The average person stays in the shelter for 27 nights, Bolsen said.
Its current location in Lakeview has room for 21 guests. The Bucktown location will house the same.
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