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
Stable housing will be within the reach of all families, providing children and pregnant persons a foundation for optimal health.
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.
- 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.
Addressing the Housing Needs of Young Children and Pregnant Persons
Comments on Illinois Housing Development Authority's Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Plan
July 30, 2021
Mitigating Housing Insecurity Health Risks for Pregnant Persons and Newborns in Chicago’s CES
December 1, 2021
The meeting presenters:
- Retired Pediatrician Nancy Heil, MD, FAAP, Co-Chair, First Steps: Improving Child Health and Housing of the Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics
- Stacie Geller, PhD, Co-Principal Investigator from I PROMOTE-IL
The Illinois Legislative Children's Health Caucus Forum
COCHI Presentation on February 3, 2021
Proposal to the Chicago Continuum of Care
The COCHI Proposal
- Prioritize family Rapid Rehousing slots households where someone is pregnant or has delivered an infant within the last 12 months.
- 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
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
- 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
- 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
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
Julie Dworkin, Director of Policy, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless
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
Katelyn Kanwischer, Director, Maternal and Child Health Initiatives, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital
Flora Koppel, MSW, President/CEO, Unity Parenting and Counseling, Inc.
Tamela D. Milan-Alexander, MPPA, Community Engagement Director at EverThrive Illinois
Edna Navarro-Vidaurre, Regional Council Manager, Region 1-A, Birth to Five Illionis
Bob Palmer, Policy Director, Housing Action Illinois
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.