The Night Ministry has received RHY funding for our housing programs for youth & young adults experiencing homelessness since the mid-1990’s. We proudly operate two RHYA-funded Basic Center Programs, a Street Outreach Program, and a Transitional Living Program.
We believe that youth who experience homelessness need to have a variety of age- and developmentally-appropriate housing and service options available to them. This is especially true if the individual experiencing homelessness is a minor.
RHY Basic Center funding helps The Night Ministry ensure that those services are available to minors in Chicago, where 2,292 of the more than 18,000 homeless Chicago Public School Students last year were identified as unaccompanied youth. Our Basic Center Programs help them reconnect to family members or other safe housing options, as soon as possible. We are especially proud that RHYA funding allows The Night Ministry to provide the only emergency shelter beds in Chicago for pregnant and parenting minor-age girls who find themselves homeless.
RHY funding also supports our work to provide specialized, age-appropriate street outreach to youth experiencing homelessness, so that we can meet them in schools, public libraries, and skate parks.
RHY funding is not only about meeting the immediate needs of homeless youth, but helping to address those concerns that resulted in their homelessness, so as to prevent chronic adult homelessness. RHY funding enabled a former resident of our Transitional Living Program to say this about The Night Ministry and our work with homeless youth:
“[T]he most important thing I found here was human connection. When I came to The Night Ministry, I didn’t feel invested in people. I felt unloved and didn’t trust anyone. The Night Ministry changed all of that. I met people who cared. Our case managers and all of the youth workers truly want us to succeed. They taught me how to hope for a better future and showed me how to build that future.”
Those feelings extend to the youth leaders who are participating in our Youth 4 Truth leadership and advocacy program:
“Being around other people who are my age and in the same situation makes me feel less alone and tells me that things will be okay.”
“Finding the Youth Outreach Van saved my life because being outside during the night in Chicago can be very dangerous.
“Finding the Youth Outreach Van saved my life.”
This is what specialized, age- and developmentally-appropriate services are all about. This is why The Night Ministry loves RHYA.