Chicago Bar Association Record: The Crucial Role of Access: Helping Homeless Youth Find Stability

By Beth Malik

Around 8:30 every night, more than 20 unaccompanied youths congregate outside The Crib. Each hopes to win the lottery–the shelter lottery, one that will let them sleep on a mat on a basement floor for the night. Operated by The Night Ministry, The Crib is a city-supported emergency shelter in the Lakeview neighborhood for homeless youth, ages 18 through 24.

The youth shelter only operates at night. Youth must be out by 9 a.m. the next morning. Most homeless youth have no choice but to carry their belongings with them wherever they go. Once they leave in the morning, they are not guaranteed a bed the following night.