|Night Ministry medical case manager Tiffany Green talks to a homeless man on Lower Wacker Drive.|
You can't always tell if it is a person in there, or if that person is alive or dead.
"Night Ministry!" Jeff Ayoub calls out, approaching a human-shaped pile of blankets on Lower Wacker Drive. "Night Ministry!"
The Night Ministry is the last strand of our fraying safety net. Despite "ministry" in its name, it is not a religious group, except in the sense that all religions have scripture about helping the downtrodden, edicts generally ignored by the faithful but the linchpin of this 40-year-old Chicago organization, which runs a shelter and a medical clinic on a bus that offers health care, counseling and life necessities to Chicago's homeless.
I tagged along Thursday because, one year ago, the Night Ministry began a program, where nurses carry backpacks filled with medical gear seek out the homeless under viaducts, in fields, and other odd places where they hide.
"We were 're restricted with what we could do with the bus," aid David Wywialowski, director health outreach.
|Smoking crack cocaine.|
Homeless people are prone to asthma — one complained of the dust raised by cars blasting by. They have allergies from the rat feces scattered inches from their heads, difficulty filling prescriptions, early onset arthritis and undiagnosed diabetes. Not to mention the woes of addiction that cause many to fall off the grid in the first place.
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