BUCKTOWN — The Night Ministry will officially move its medical street team, health care services and administrative offices to its new Bucktown digs next week.
But the Crib, its overnight LGBTQ-friendly youth shelter, will remain in Lakeview for the time being.
The nonprofit planned to move the Crib and its health outreach and administrative offices to its new Bucktown home at 1735 N. Ashland Ave. this spring.
But because of the coronavirus outbreak, the shelter will continue to operate out of Lakeview Lutheran Church, 835 N. Addison St., said spokesman Burke Patten.
Bucktown neighbors will soon being seeing the Night Ministry’s two white buses sporting the nonprofit’s blue logo and lettering in the building’s parking lot.
These buses are used for the nonprofit’s medical outreach efforts, which have been in high demand since the start of the pandemic, Patten said. Neighbors might also notice an ADA ramp the Night Ministry added to the north entrance of the building.
The Crib’s residents are 18-24 years old and often identify as LGBTQ. Its current location in Lakeview has room for 21 people, and the Bucktown location will be able to house the same number.
The shelter housed an average of 15 guests per night during the last quarter of 2018. But it’s been at or near capacity every night since the pandemic started, Patten said.
The shelter’s normal hours are 9 p.m.-9 a.m., but the Night Ministry changed the hours of operation to 24/7 in light of the pandemic, Patten said.
Because Lakeview Lutheran Church is closed during the stay at home order, the Night Ministry has been able to expand the Crib’s footprint within the church to create room for adequate social distancing.
The nonprofit now serves three meals a day to guests and offers structured programming aimed at keeping guests indoors.
During the COVID-19 crisis, the Night Ministry is accepting financial donations as well as donations of food for the Crib and the clients served on medical outreach trips. Learn more here.
The Crib’s Move To Bucktown
Last year, news of the Crib’s move to Bucktown pitted neighbors against each other. While some welcomed the idea of adding more social services to the neighborhood, others feared for the safety of local children.
The Crib’s new home is sandwiched between the Kennedy Expressway and Walsh Park and is adjacent to Jonathan Burr Elementary School.
Some Bucktown residents pleaded with the Night Ministry to stop the Crib’s move to the neighborhood, contending the homeless shelter has a history of being “bad neighbors” to Lakeview families and pointing to a 2013 SWAT team response.
The Crib’s current digs are surrounded by nightclubs, bars and other entertainment venues in Boystown — factors the city’s Department of Family Services has said drive the neighborhood’s crime rate.
In response to resident concerns about safety, Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) 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.
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