Love is the Reason

Carolyn Green and Mike Choby were playing folk music in a Barnes & Noble Cafe in Schaumburg, Illinois the weekend after I moved to the city.  I hadn’t yet signed up with The Night Ministry, so when Carolyn took a moment at the break to talk about Emmaus Ministries, it sounded like an opportunity I had to explore. Her husband was the founding director of the program.

Emmaus reaches out to men in prostitution on the streets of Chicago, a group that is even more marginalized than most in the homeless community.  Through them I had the opportunity to actually walk the streets in the wee hours of the morning learning more about their mission, and meeting the men they serve.

Chapter 1 in Painted Black arose from this experience and reflects the world I found there–a world they are fighting against.  Here is Carolyn singing a song that I feel expresses one of the motives behind Emmaus and their participants.

Tracking Shelter Beds

Nearly ten years ago, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley launched a ten year Plan to End Homelessness.  Over nine years later, how is the plan working out?  Some people say we’re making progress and some say not so much.

Staff from The Night Ministry were in attendance last week as Chicago began updating its plan with a series of community planning sessions. There are six planned discussions by a panel of local and national experts to look at six identified issues: employment, permanent housing access and supply, systems integration, coordinated access and prevention, interim and rapid rehousing, and youth.

The article below talks about some of the obstacles the discussions intend to address.

Instead of managing homelessness through a system of emergency shelters, the City of Chicago’s Plan to End Homelessness advocated moving homeless people into transitional and permanent housing in order to gain stability. Since the plan began in 2003, the ratio of shelter beds to permanent supportive housing has been reversed—from 38 percent permanent housing and 62 percent shelters, to 60 percent permanent housing and 40 percent shelters- while the overall number of beds in the system has steadily increased

via City Creating New Plan to End Homelessness – Chicago News Cooperative.