The Homestretch documentary opened Fri September 12th, at the Gene Siskel film center, and plays through September 18th. NRS is honored to serve…

nightministryThe Homestretch documentary opened Fri September 12th, at the Gene Siskel film center, and plays through September 18th. NRS is honored to serve alongside longstanding partner and collaborator The Night Ministry on The Homestretch advisory task force. Throughout the week, we will cover the screenings and the steadfast organizations working behind the scenes to keep Chicago’s at-risk youth safe and off the streets.

On a given night in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood dozens of homeless youth, ages 18-24, queue in line outside Lakeview Lutheran Church hoping to get a bed for the evening. The Crib, a Night Ministry program featured in the documentary The Homestretch, provides up to 20 youth with safe shelter, three nutritious meals, case management and referrals for support services.

Their doors are open seven nights a week, 365 days a year, from 9pm until 9am for youth in crisis. That is every polar vortex, rain-drenched summer night, record breaking deep freeze, or scorching heat wave.

And, without their services youth might have to sleep beneath an underpass, squat in an abandoned building, or trade sex for shelter.crib

The program opens each evening at 9 pm, and youth are able to receive a warm, nutritious dinner, utilize the shower facilities, complete their homework, and engage in safe recreational activities, such as yoga and artistic expression.

In the morning, youth receive another nutritious meal before they leave the shelter. Program staff provide ongoing support and vital information to youth concerning resources which are available to them, including healthcare, housing options, and educational and employment opportunities. The amount of time that youth stay in the shelter varies. While some youth may only need one to two nights of shelter and support, many youth utilize the shelter for longer periods, while they work towards a more stable living environment.

Each night at The Crib begins with “gratitudes,” where guests, staff and volunteers can choose to share things they’re proud of or grateful for, and a nutritious dinner is served at 9:30 pm. After dinner the youth finish their homework, meet with staff, participate in activities, listen to music, take showers, and do laundry until “lights out” at midnight. In the morning, guests leave by 9 am to begin their day.

The major goal of The Crib is to provide shelter, meals, and support services to homeless youth who are especially hard to reach, assisting them in connecting with the resources necessary to attain long-term safety and stability. Outreach teams intentionally conduct outreach in target areas where there is a high percentage of homeless youth.

  • To learn more, check out The Homestretch documentary at the Gene Siskel film center, September 12th through September 18th;
  • Read more on The Crib, including testimony from youth, here
  • And, visit our blog for more coverage of the screenings throughout the week!

The Homestretch (trailer) from spargel productions on Vimeo.

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