Mobile Assistance Unit Helps Homeless In Dangerous Cold

Steve Miller
January 29, 2019 - 6:13 pm

Volunteer Len Strauch; Milton Alvarez, street medicine outreach professional; Dr. Ralph Ryan. (WBBM Newsradio/Steve Miller)

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) – The Night Ministry visited several dozen homeless people Tuesday to check on them and try to get them to go to indoor shelters.

Lower Wacker Drive: piles of blankets and cardboard. Underneath those piles were people who have no homes.

Dr. Ralph Ryan of the Night Ministry has an ear thermometer to check temperatures.

"Your body temperature is low,” Ryan told one person. “So, even though you're not shivering, you're too cold. Is there any chance we can get you to a warming place? Do you know where the warming shelters are? How to get to them?"

"Yeah, I know how to get to Pacific Garden Mission."

"Do you need a bus card to get there?"

"No, I don't need a bus card."

"OK, because you should probably do that tonight because your body temperature's low, and it's going to get really cold tonight."

Night Ministry members talk with homeless people on Lower Wacker Drive as temperatures plunge dangerously. (WBBM Newsradio/Steve Miller)

Back at the Night Ministry van, Dr. Ryan was doubtful.

"I just don't trust him to make good decisions," he said. "He's not likely to leave that spot."

The Night Ministry says its street medicine outreach team talked to about 50 people Tuesday and offered help to all. Four people went to shelters.