Collaborative on Child Homelessness – Illinois

Collaborative on Child Homelessness - Illinois (COCHI)

 A multi-disciplinary, multi-organizational coalition with the purpose of improving health outcomes for young children, families, and pregnant persons experiencing housing insecurity by increasing capacity and fair access to housing through a deliberate racial equity and justice lens. The Collaborative broadly defines housing insecurity to include both those who are literally homeless and those living doubled up.

Upcoming Listening Session

IHDA Listening Session for families with young children and pregnant persons, who have experienced housing insecurity.

Participants will receive a small stipend.

Wednesday, November 10th at 11am - 1pm

Register here

Our Vision and Mission

Vision

Stable housing will be within the reach of all families, providing children and pregnant persons a foundation for optimal health.

Mission

To improve health outcomes for young children, families, and pregnant persons experiencing housing insecurity by increasing capacity and fair access to housing through a deliberate racial equity and justice lens.

The Collaborative is focused on children birth to six and pregnant persons based on the developmental vulnerabilities of the child as demonstrated by Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) studies.

Goals

  • Prevent and end child homelessness and housing instability.
  • Foster collaboration to improve system coordination and integration among healthcare, early childhood, education, and housing sectors.
  • Ensure that public policies recognize both the vulnerability of pregnant individuals and infants in the womb to negative health outcomes, including preventable death, and that young children are at immediate and lifelong health risks due to housing insecurity.
  • Increase affordable housing capacity for families in extremely low-income households.
  • Address systemic racism by equitably expanding access to affordable housing for families in low-income households.
Portrait of a young African American family of four in front of their house.

Join COCHI

To join the Collaborative as an organization or individual, please complete this short form.

Note: Organizational and individual members are approved pro forma, and membership is free.

Addressing the Housing Needs of Young Children and Pregnant Persons

A multi-ethnic group of children sit close together on the floor, with their legs crossed and their arms around one another. They are smiling and enjoying their time together.

The Illinois Legislative Children's Health Caucus Forum

COCHI Presentation on February 3, 2021

Comments on Illinois Housing Development Authority's Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Plan

July 30, 2021

Proposal to the Chicago Continuum of Care

The COCHI Proposal

  1. Prioritize family Rapid Rehousing slots households where someone is pregnant or has delivered an infant within the last 12 months.
  2. Track in HMIS the number of individuals in Chicago’s homeless service system who are pregnant.

ICAAP's Child Health Risks & Healthcare Navigation Webinars

Navigation of the Healthcare System and Pediatric Primary Care

Presenter: Julie Nelson, MPH Corporation for Supportive Housing
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Webinar Topics: Pediatric Practice & Healthcare Settings, Resources for Children with Disabilities, Supporting Families in Getting Healthcare, Understanding Medicaid, Medicaid Managed Care, Care Coordination

The webinar presented by ICAAP's First Steps: Improving Child Health and Housing project will enable participants
to:

  • Improve participants’ understanding of pediatric practice
  • Increase their ability and effectiveness to share information
    on healthcare options
  • Help families navigate the healthcare system
  • Support families in accessing pediatric care

Intended Audience:

  • Supportive housing case managers
  • Shelter staff
  • Those who provide services to children experiencing housing insecurity and want to connect families to pediatric
    primary care and other resources

Child Health Risks Associated with Housing Insecurity webinar

Presenters: Laura Pabalan, MD, FAAP and Laura Bass, LCSW

This cross-sector housing and health training is for housing case managers, shelter staff, and other support staff working with families experiencing housing insecurity. Below you can download the Pediatric Wellness Tool to encourage and connect your clients to pediatric care.

The webinar presented by ICAAP's First Steps: Improving Child Health and Housing project will enable participants to:

  • Recognize the importance of well-child check-ups to optimize child health and reduce illness
  • Identify risk factors and common health issues for children living in shelters
  • Recognize when a child should be seen by their health care provider and what follow-ups are necessary
  • Utilize First Steps Pediatric Wellness Assessment Tool to connect families with pediatric care

The presentation covers well-child visits and will address such health issues as asthma, developmental delay, food allergies, poisoning, behavioral health, and infections – including COVID-19.

COCHI Leadership Team

Laura Bass, LCSW, Director of Programs, Facing Forward to End Homelessness

Deanna Behrens, MD, FAAP, Co-Chair, First Steps: Improving Child Health and Housing, Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Pediatric

Andrea M. Chatman, MSM, Director of Homeless Services, The Salvation Army Metro Division

Mary Elsner, JD, Director, Health Equity Initiatives, Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics

Nancy Heil, MD, FAAP, Co-Chair, First Steps:  Improving Child Health and Housing, Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics

Flora Koppel, MSW, President/CEO, Unity Parenting and Counseling, Inc.

Tamela D. Milan-Alexander, MPPA, Coordinator, Access Westside Healthy Start Community Action Network, Access Community Health Network

Susan Reyna-Guerrero, LCSW, Start Early, Homeless Project Consultant; Chief Program Officer, Children’s Place Association

The Collaborative is facilitated by the Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics. For further information about the Collaborative, please contact Mary Elsner, Director, Health Equity Initiatives at melsner@illinoisaap.com.