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.

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.

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.

Portrait of a young African American family of four in front of their house.

Addressing the Housing Needs of Young Children and Pregnant Women

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

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.

Child Health Risks Webinar

Child Health Risks Associated with Housing Insecurity webinar

This cross-sector housing and health training is for housing case managers, shelter staff, and other support staff working with families experiencing housing insecurity.

The webinar 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.