CHICAGO (CBS)– The COVID-19 pandemic has complicated the way a Chicago-based organization is providing care to people experiencing homelessness.
The Night Ministry provides free medical care, food and shelter. Their health outreach bus parks at specific locations around the city during six days a week. In addition, the street medicine team is more hands-on serving various sites of those living outdoors and even on CTA trains.
The organization’s core principles are housing, health care and human connection. That third “H” is hard to maintain with all the new coronavirus safety measures in place.
“So much of what we do is give a hug to someone who’s in crisis,” Paul Hamann, The Night Ministry CEO, said. “That’s not allowable, we can’t have that happen now.”
The Night Ministry nurse Stephan Koruba said being able to do any work on the street is possible by establishing relationships.
“To be able to earn their trust, to listen to them, and all they can see is your eyes and you’re six-feet apart, and sometimes you have a gown and face-shield on, it’s really hard to do that,” Koruba said.
The organization has limited its street teams to two to three people. The homeless population they serve are no longer allowed in the outreach bus on van. Donations can be made online.