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Bringing Oral Health Home. An Implementation Evaluation of Heartland Alliance Health’s Shelter-Based Oral Health Outreach Program

May 10, 2022

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Heartland Alliance Health (HAH) aligned with multiple residential sites serving people experiencing homelessness and people with substance use disorders to expand access to oral health services for their residents through site-based outreach.The HAH Shelter-Based Oral Health pilot program aims to improve the oral health of individuals experiencing homelessness and increase access to oral health services and other services addressing social determinants of health. The pilot program aims to do this by establishing stronger partnerships with residential sites and providing on-site dental services. The long-term goals of the program are to increase knowledge for medical providers to successfully implement and deliver on-site oral health care and continue developing strategic alignment between Heartland Alliance Health and residential sites.Recognizing the importance of program implementation in effective service delivery, the evaluation of the Oral Health Service followed the World Health Organization's Implementation Framework. To understand how the service was operationalized, the outcome variables of acceptability, adoption, appropriateness, feasibility, fidelity, coverage and sustainability were assessed. Research questions were developed within each of the overarching outcome variables, sourced from relevant literature and the HAH Oral Health Logic Model (Appendix A). The logic model was co-developed by the research team, HAH Oral Health staff, and outreach partner staff. Specifically, the research questions for this report focus on the implementation of the Oral Health Service based on identified short- and mid- term outcomes.

Ending Street Homelessness in Vanguard Cities Across the Globe: An International Comparative Study

April 5, 2022

Street homelessness is one of the most extreme, and visible, manifestations of profound injustice on the planet, but often struggles to achieve priority attention at international level. The Institute of Global Homelessness (IGH's) A Place to Call Home initiative, launched in 2017, represented a concerted effort to support cities across the globe to eradicate street homelessness. A first cohort of 13 'Vanguard Cities' committed to a specific target on ending or reducing street homelessness by December 2020. Our independent evaluation of this initiative found that:Two Vanguard Cities – Glasgow and Sydney – fully met their self-defined target reductions for end 2020. In addition, Greater Manchester, while it did not meet its exceptionally ambitious goal of 'ending all rough sleeping', recorded an impressive 52% reduction against baseline.Overall, there was evidence of reductions in targeted aspects of street homelessness in over half of the Vanguard Cities. In most of the remaining cities data limitations, sometimes as a result of COVID, meant that it was not possible to determine trends. In only one Vanguard City – Edmonton – was there an evidenced increase in street homelessness over baseline levels.Key enablers of progress in reducing street homelessness included the presence of a lead coordinating agency, and coordinated entry to homelessness services, alongside investment in specialized and evidence-based interventions, such as assertive street outreach services, individual case management and Housing First.Key barriers to progress included heavy reliance on undignified and sometimes unsafe communal shelters, a preoccupation with meeting immediate physiological needs, and sometimes perceived spiritual needs, rather than structural and system change, and a lack of emphasis on prevention. Aggressive enforcement interventions by police and city authorities, and documentary and identification barriers, were also counter-productive to attempts to reduce street homelessness.A key contextual variable between the Vanguard Cities was political will, with success in driving down street homelessness associated with high-level political commitments. An absolute lack of funds was a major challenge in all of the Global South cities, but also in resource-poor settings in the Global North. Almost all Vanguard Cities cited pressures on the affordable housing stock as a key barrier to progress, but local lettings and other policies could make a real difference.The impact of the COVID-19 crisis differed markedly across the Vanguard Cities, with people at risk of street homelessness most effectively protected in the UK and Australian cities. Responses were less inclusive and ambitious in the North American and Global South cities, with more continued use of 'shared air' shelters, albeit that in some of these contexts the pandemic prompted better coordination of local efforts to address street homelessness.IGH involvement was viewed as instrumental in enhancing the local profile, momentum and level of ambition attached to reducing street homelessness in the Vanguard Cities. IGH's added value to future cohorts of cities could be maximised via a focus on more tailored forms of support specific to the needs of each city, and also to different types of stakeholders, particularly frontline workers.

COVID-19 KNOWLEDGE AND IMPACT ACROSS ILLINOIS REGIONS: THE LATINO EXPERIENCE

March 25, 2022

With the rise of future COVID-19 variants and shift towards an endemic public health strategy, the urgency to reach those historically more affected by pandemics is stronger than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic has proved to be no exception to these trends, with low income and minority communities encompassing more risk to the virus1 due to several factors such as chronic conditions, longer and more dangerous work hours, and decreased access to healthcare. The social determinants of health play a key role in the well-being of these individuals, with even those who do not have underlying health conditions being at a greater risk due to stress and deprivation weakening immune systems. Overall, Hispanic/Latinos and other minority communities require more outreach efforts and the results of this survey highlights areas in which our current COVID-19 response can be improved.

The Growing Demand for Healthcare Workers in Illinois

March 24, 2022

New research from the American Immigration Council highlights the crucial role immigrants in Illinois are playing to help address critical workforce shortages in the healthcare field. To meet the growing need for physicians and nurses, especially in rural counties, the state will need to implement policies that not only attract and retain immigrant talent that is complementary to the U.S.-born workforce, but that also build career pathways for the immigrants who already call the state home. This research brief highlights the growing demand for healthcare workers in the state and the need to reduce barriers for internationally trained professionals.

Community Perspectives on COVID-19 Recovery: A Report on 2021 Community Conversations

March 21, 2022

As Chicago works to come back from the pandemic, years of disinvestment and structural racism have made economic recovery harder for some communities than others. To have a truly equitable recovery, it's important to understand the on-going impact the pandemic has had on Black and Latinx communities hit hard by job loss, sickness, and death. In collaboration with The Chicago Community Trust and We Rise Together: For an Equitable and Just Recovery, New America Chicago commissioned a report from BECOME to learn more about how these communities were recovering and what is still needed from local and federal policymakers for these communities to not just recover but thrive.We Rise Together is a coalition of corporate and philanthropic funders working with the community to accelerate equitable economic recovery in the Chicago region. Housed at The Chicago Community Trust, We Rise Together is increasing employment opportunities for Black and Latinx workers, strengthening businesses of color, and spurring investment in disinvested neighborhoods. Because We Rise Together is committed to grounding the initiative's efforts in the lived experiences of Chicago's most marginalized communities, the decision was made to host Community Conversations across Chicago neighborhoods that have been hardest hit by the pandemic.  A team from BECOME worked with New America Chicago, The Trust, and We Rise Together to plan seven Community Conversations in collaboration with nonprofits from each neighborhood. Participants had strong recommendations for support and resources to help their neighborhoods recover economically from the pandemic. Consistently, across all neighborhoods, we heard that people struggled and continue to struggle economically and emotionally as a result of the pandemic. Still, most found unexpected positives in the midst of the pandemic.

Extreme Gerrymanderers

February 22, 2022

Gerrymandering is the intentional practice of manipulating the boundaries of congressional districts to provide an unfair advantage for a specific party or group. The practice has increasingly created barriers to representative democracy and allows politicians to select their voters, rather than allowing voters to pick their politicians.New maps that create the boundaries between congressional districts are drawn every 10 years, following each decennial census. In the wake of the 2020 Census, state legislators crafted a number of hyperpartisan and discriminatory gerrymanders. This report highlights a dozen of the worst.

80 years of Funding Change: Woods Fund Chicago, 2017-2021

December 14, 2021

Woods Fund Chicago seeks to support and promote community organizing and public policy advocacy that advances racial equity and economic justice. We firmly believe that the people most impacted by structural racism and economic injustice should lead the process of defining problems and developing solutions for their communities in the Chicago metropolitan area. Woods Fund has identified racial equity as a priority for the foundation, and works to continually hone an approach to grantmaking that reflects that commitment.

Housing Needs and Economic Conditions of Cook County’s Older Adults, 2021

December 14, 2021

The development of impactful policy to address the unique housing needs of Cook County's older adults requires local and timely data on changing conditions, informed by the data needs of issue-area stakeholders. This analysis leverages the local knowledge of roughly 20 Chicago-area organizations working on older adult housing issues to create a practitioner-focused resource on key demographic and socioeconomic conditions related to older-adult housing demand and economic and housing insecurity in Cook County.Click "Download" to access this resource online.

Sharing Data Across Systems: Leveraging Homeless Service and Public Workforce Systems Data to Support Jobseekers Experiencing Homelessness

November 30, 2021

Employment success and housing stability go hand in hand. Although the public workforce and homeless service systems both serve homeless and unstably housed jobseekers, these systems work in silos in many communities. Collaboration is critical for these two systems to achieve their interrelated goals.One promising systems collaboration strategy is cross-system data sharing. This resource provides an overview of data sharing, explains how it can be used to better understand and meet the needs of workforce and homeless service populations in your community, and lifts up how Chicago and Detroit have successfully operationalized this strategy.

Building the Relationships for Collaborative Governance: Case Studies from Across America

November 17, 2021

In recent years, a more collaborative form of democratic engagement has emerged, primarily at the local and state level, as well as internationally. Collaborative governance, or co-governance, refers to a broad range of models of civic engagement that allow people outside and inside government to work together in designing policy. This new form of engagement seeks to break down the boundaries between advocates and officials and is not only more democratic, but also more inclusive and open to those served by the government. How are co-governance relationships best developed, sustained, and supported? The clearest way to answer this question is not in theory, but from the learned experiences of co-governance, at the neighborhood, city, and state level. In this report, we highlight five of these cases in communities across the country where progress has been made to improve the quality of life and strengthen the bonds of community for all through the collaborative work of democracy.

Overcoming Barriers and Empowering Communities: The Immigrant Health Academy

October 20, 2021

Immigrants in Illinois are diverse in their ethnicities, cultures, immigration statuses, and economic standing. Unfortunately, the most vulnerable immigrants lack adequate, equitable access to healthcare due to barriers presented by the healthcare system, including limited healthcare coverage options for undocumented individuals. As healthcare becomes a national priority, heightened because of the COVID-19 pandemic, undocumented immigrants have often been excluded from policy solutions. ICIRR and its members have been advocating at the national, state and local levels for many years to ensure that immigrants are included, if possible, in all policy solutions. Despite these efforts, many individuals remain uninsured, including over 180,000 who are undocumented in Illinois and many more who are not aware of their health coverage options or their healthcare rights.With the goal of expanding health coverage and fulfilling one of our organizational goals of community empowerment, ICIRR along with six key partners in the Chicago suburbs (Mujeres Latinas en Accion, Arab American Family Services, Southwest Suburban Immigrant Project, Mano a Mano Family Resource Center, Legal Council for Health Justice, and Shriver Center on Poverty Law) are launching the Immigrant Health Academy. The Academy will focus on empowering immigrants by helping them understand their healthcare rights regardless of immigration status and how to navigate the complex healthcare system. The Academy will train immigrant leaders with a newly developed curriculum and evaluation process to measure clear metrics of organizing, leadership development, and empowerment. 

Supporting Career and Technical Education in Peoria and Pittsburgh

October 8, 2021

Between 2015 and 2018, the AFT Innovation Fund supported innovative career and technical education (CTE) efforts in four communities: Miami, Peoria, Pittsburgh and San Francisco. This report focuses on the priorities, activities and outcomes achieved in two of those communities: Pittsburgh and Peoria. These two communities used three years of grant funding to the local teachers unions to launch, strengthen and build out two very different approaches to modernizing high school CTE efforts. There is much to learn from each community—about the power of collaboration and partnership, of combining top-down and bottom-up innovation, and the role of leadership. In the current environment, with public and policymaker interest in career preparation and experiential learning in high school still cresting, the AFT believes that the stories of CTE modernization in Peoria and Pittsburgh can be instructive for other communities as they think about how best to serve diverse student populations so that high school can reduce rather than exacerbate education inequities.