Works to prevent and mitigate child health risks associated with house insecurity with a specific focus on children ages 0 to 6 and pregnant persons.

Father and daughter (18 months) walking up steps to house

Housing is a Human Right


The child shall have the right to adequate nutrition, housing, recreation, and medical services.

Principle 4 of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child

The First Steps Initiative

  • Fostering partnerships through the Collaborative on Child Homelessness - Illinois (COCHI).
  • Enhancing systems of care and linkages between pediatric primary care, early childhood, and housing providers.
  • Making recommendations on what data should be collected and tracked to better understand how homelessness and housing instability affect children and pregnant persons.
  • Improving the quality of care through health care and housing cross-sector education.
  • Establishing a model of care for pediatric patients facing housing insecurity.
  • Assuring that child health risks and health risks to pregnant persons are reflected in the prioritization of housing.

Housing Insecurity Facts

Fact: The majority of family members facing insecurity are children and over half of them are under 6 years old.

Fact: Approximately 80% of Chicago residents facing housing insecurity are Black.


Fact: Infants born to persons experiencing homelessness are more likely to be born prematurely and with low birth weights, to require a ventilator upon birth, and to require admission to an intensive care unit than those born to persons who are stably housed.

Fact: A pregnant person who lives in shelters are less likely to receive well care in ambulatory settings and are about 50% more likely to use the emergency department for their care.


Physician Resources on Child Health and Housing

Webinar: A Primary Care Primer on Housing Insecurity in Children

A First Steps: Improving Child Health and Housing webinar crafted by a group of experts from across the housing and health care sectors. This webinar allows participants to understand the definitions and prevalence of homeless and housing insecurity in Chicago, learn how to sensitively address homelessness in patients, and become familiar with resources available for children and families experiencing homelessness.

Chicago/Cook County Housing Referral Tool for Physicians