A Public Letter of Support for 'The Crib'

A scene from The Homestretch showing Dinner at The Crib

A scene from The Homestretch showing Dinner at The Crib

Alderman Scott Waguespack

32nd Ward Service Office

2657 North Clybourn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60614
TEL (773) 248-1330

Dear Ald. Scott Waguespack,

We write in support of the Night Ministry’s ‘The Crib’ move to Bucktown.

We are the team of documentary filmmakers behind the Emmy-winning film “The Homestretch” which intimately chronicles the lives of several of Chicago homeless teens as they navigate the tremendous obstacles of being homeless while trying to finish school, find support and build strong futures. The film is an intimate portrait of what it truly means to be young, homeless and trying to build a life while being on your own, often with no family or back up support, at such a young age.

As part of our filming over five years, we spent many nights talking and filming with the young men and women residents of The Crib. We witnessed the incredible leadership of The Night Ministry and The Crib staff in how they continually created a respectful, supportive community and ensured that The Crib was a place of calm refuge in these young people’s lives. What we witnessed while filming multiple times was an orderly entry process, a community meal, a supportive time for friendship, studying and clear rules for a respectful bedtime process. All while making clear the collective rules to ensure that the neighborhood and the youth community remained a place of refuge.

We witnessed time and again how the young people who came to The Crib were seeking a place to study, a warm meal, a place to do laundry so they could go to work or a job training center the next day, and emotional support from each other and the staff. Yes, there were some times where we saw someone stressed – and when this happened there was a trained staff member responding immediately and compassionately to help.  

We produced, edited, and distributed the film out of Kartemquin Films, which has been located at 1901 W Wellington, in your ward, for the past five decades. “The Homestretch” was aired on national PBS and screened around the world to great acclaim. Our Impact Campaign page for the film states, “Negative stereotypes are single largest obstacle faced by homeless youth and the service organizations working to support them.”

We are writing to offer a first hand knowledge of the work the staff and the residents of The Crib. And we wholeheartedly support their move to the Bucktown neighborhood and look forward to engaging with the community of youth as our neighbors.

Kirsten Kelly and Anne de Mare, directors/producers of “The Homestretch”
Gordon Quinn, Artistic Director of Kartemquin Films
Elspeth Revere, Executive Director of Kartemquin Films
The Board and Staff of Kartemquin Films