Thursday, February 21, 2019

"The Crib" youth shelter may be moving from Lakeview to Bucktown

Young adults settle in for the night at The Crib's Lakeview location. | Night Ministry
“The Crib,” a youth homeless shelter that has operated out of a Lakeview church basement since 2011, may be relocating this summer to new digs in Bucktown, according to information distributed to Bucktown residents, applications filed with the city, and public notices posted at their desired new location.

The Night Ministry, parent organization of The Crib, did not respond to emails Thursday seeking confirmation of their plans.

The proposed new location of The Crib and the Night Ministry administrative offices. | Google
Plans call for The Crib to open on the first floor of the Mural Building at 1735 North Ashland near the Kennedy Expressway. Administrative offices for the Night Ministry will move to the building’s second and third floors from its current location at 4711 North Ravenswood, according to a flyer distributed to Bucktown residents by the parent organization.

A legal notice to Bucktown residents dated Jan. 10th said the Night Ministry is asking the Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals to issue a special use permit to use the new location as a temporary overnight shelter. Plans call for the building to be "gut renovated" with security cameras and improved lighting to be installed throughout, the flyer said.

The new location will provide shelter for “up to 25 young people between the ages of 18 and 24,” the letter said.

The Crib has operated in the basement of this Lakeview church since 2011. | Google
In June 2017, The Crib closed its Lakeview location inside Lakeview Lutheran Church, 835 West Addison, for over a month to retrain its staff after “a couple incidents in the space,” Erin Ryan, vice president for the Night Ministry told The Windy City Times before the closing. “It's a small space and tensions were high...We had a couple incidents that made us concerned for the safety of the residents. We want to make sure the space is safe and that we review our policies and the way that we use it."

A source who works with Boystown-area service agencies told CWB at the time that The Crib had ongoing issues with staff retention and had difficulty finding quality workers to staff the shelter.

The temporary closure came just a day after police were called to the shelter to handle the latest in a series of security concerns: A Crib supervisor called 911 around 6 o’clock the morning before the closure announcement after a suspicious man knocked aggressively on the shelter door and then covered a security camera lens.

A misdated public notice posted at the Ashland location. | Provided
In February 2017, a 23-year-old man who was on parole for robbery was arrested at the Crib after staff members reported seeing him carrying a gun inside the shelter. Police said no weapon was recovered, but the man was charged with battery and resisting arrest.

In October 2016, a different man who was on parole for robbery called 911 to report that he had been robbed inside The Crib. That man, Keyruni Buford, was arrested in Boystown three weeks later after he punched a senior citizen in the face three times, took the victim’s phone and reached into the man’s pants to steal his wallet, according to court records.

He was convicted of that attack and is serving a six-year prison sentence.

Buford posted a series of Facebook Live videos in the days leading up to his arrest, including one that showed him pouring liquid on a homeless man who was sleeping on a Loop sidewalk and another in which Buford wandered the streets of Boystown, eventually ending up seeking shelter at The Crib’s door.

Since re-opening on July 26, 2017, fewer problems have been reported at The Crib.

While none of the documentation distributed by the Night Ministry in connection with the Ashland location states explicitly that the Lakeview location will be closing, a volunteer with the social service agency said Thursday that The Crib hopes to be out of its Lakeview digs in August.
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