Children should remain front-and-center in fight to end homelessness

To solve family homelessness (eventually ending homelessness for children), all aspects of care for parents and children—physical, behavioral, educational and housing—need to be fully coordinated.

Dear Mayor Lori Lightfoot,

We urge you to renew your efforts to reduce homelessness and bankroll affordable housing in Chicago. This is no small problem. The latest Chicago Coalition for the Homeless statistics show 86,324 Chicagoans are homeless or in shared living arrangements.

This is particularly problematic for Chicago’s children, who experience lives of chaos and trauma that often lead to numerous physical and mental health issues. Repeated moves result in frequent school disruptions, inadequate physical health care and nearly nonexistent mental health care. Not surprisingly, many homeless children experience educational delays and never catch up.

Furthermore, homeless children experience higher rates than their housed peers of asthma and digestive problems thanks to poor nutrition that stems from food insecurity. Studies indicate they are twice as likely to have learning disabilities and three times as likely to develop behavioral health disorders. More disturbingly, only 1 in 4 homeless children will ever receive needed mental health treatment.

During the 2017-18 school year, Chicago Public Schools data shows 17,894 homeless children were enrolled in the Students in Temporary Living Situations program. Those are the children we can account for; the numbers are likely higher, and every number counts in the fight to end homelessness. Residential instability as a child is a key indicator of homelessness as an adult, so these children are likely to follow in the footsteps of their parents.

To turn the tide on homelessness and set a precedent for the rest of your administration, it’s critical to focus on homeless children during your first 100 days. And to solve family homelessness (eventually ending homelessness for children), all aspects of care for parents and children—physical, behavioral, educational and housing—need to be fully coordinated.

One of the best ways to accomplish this—a behemoth task in and of itself—is with High Fidelity Wraparound, a proven, research-based method of engaging and supporting high-risk children and their families. When implemented correctly, peer-reviewed research shows it yields the highest level of outcomes for children across all life domains—health, education and housing. Specialized care coordinators partner with children and their families to create tailored plans that ensure their service needs are met, and to help them problem-solve and overcome obstacles.

Advocacy and integration on a systems-wide level is critical in Chicago to implement HFW. To accomplish this goal, Primo Center, along with Heartland Alliance Health and Catholic Charities, formed a community planning team with representatives from every system serving children in the city and state. It’s funded by the Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation—30 members strong—and includes DCFS, CPS, Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice, Ounce of Prevention Fund, Chicago Department of Family & Support Services, All Chicago and other philanthropists and service providers. But most significantly, we include homeless parents and youth.

Collectively, our planning team is making system changes that will ensure the housing and well-being of the homeless children. Please join us, Mayor Lightfoot, and help make Chicago the first major U.S. city to end family homelessness.

Christine Achre is CEO of the Primo Center for Women & Children in Chicago.

Source:
Crain’s Chicago Business
https://www.chicagobusiness.com/lightfoot-100/children-should-remain-front-and-center-fight-end-homelessness

Classic Kids’ Lovie Project and the Primo Center

Eight years ago, Classic Kids owner and friend of the Primo Center, Julie Floyd blessed our children and their mommies with new “lovies” from The Lovie Project. We are thrilled to be chosen once again to be the recipients of this thoughtful endeavor. Lovies are an integral component of Primo Center’s programming. They help provide immediate comfort and the establishment of trust with our staff. We are grateful to Julie for her ongoing generosity and re-activation of The Lovie Project.

Created by Classic Kids founder, Julie Floyd in 2011, The Lovie Project was quickly embraced by Classic Kids photographers from New York to San Francisco, photographing hundreds of well-loved toys, from threadbare teddy bears to tattered blankets. From May 12 through June 15, Classic Kids will again be photographing lovies.

Lovie photo shoots are FREE with the donation of a new lovie and all the new lovies collected will be delivered to the Primo Center in Chicago. Children entering the shelter will have the opportunity to choose their new special friend from donated lovies. In a world filled with difficult circumstances, having that one special friend can mean so much to a child.

“The Lovie Project is one of the best things we’ve done in our 25-year history,” says Floyd. “Working with lovies as subjects is really fun. They truly hold a special place in children’s hearts and that love comes through in the photographs. Seeing children choose a lovie of their very own at the local shelters has been incredibly moving for all of us.” 

In addition to providing much needed comfort items to children in need, a portion of all lovie project print and product sales will be contributed to the Primo Center.  Floyd explains, “This is a great opportunity to create meaningful pieces of artwork that are not only beautiful but also great conversation pieces to help a very worthy cause.”

Lovie photo sessions will be offered in all ten Classic Kids studios across the country to include Manhattan, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Greenwich. Lovies may also be sent to studios by mail. To locate studios and schedule appointments, please visit: www.classickids.com.  

About Classic Kids

Classic Kids Photography is a high-end, nationally distinguished boutique photography company specializing in portraits of children and their families, including pets. This year marks their 25th year in business.

For more information about The Lovie Project or Classic Kids Photography, please visit:
www.classickids.com

Media Contact:
Julie Floyd
847-446-2064
213688@email4pr.com 

SOURCE
Classic Kids Photography

The Primo Center for Women and Children Among First to Receive Day 1 Families Fund Grant

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Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos donate $97.5 million to 24 nonprofits across the U.S. working on family homelessness

 CHICAGO – November 20, 2018: The Primo Center for Women and Children (“Primo Center”) is pleased to announce it’s been selected to receive a $2.5 million grant from the Day 1 Families Fund to boost the organization’s programs focused on families experiencing homelessness. Funding from this grant will support new after-school programs, financial literacy services for residents, and employment training in four locations.

“This grant is transformational for the Primo Center,” said Christine Achre, Primo Center Chief Executive Officer. “Funding from the Day 1 Families Fund allows the Primo Center to provide basic immediate resources to families most in need, while allowing the agency to further increase its long-standing impact on families experiencing homelessness. We are truly humbled and proud to be given this award.”

Achre added, “The Primo Center deploys four proven strategies that guide our work with families when they enter our shelter, throughout their time in our shelter, and for 18 months after they leave our shelter.”

Under Achre’s leadership, the Primo Center has grown from the smallest shelter in Chicago with 22 beds to the largest provider of family beds with nearly 300 beds at its four facilities. In addition, the center opened a 12-unit permanent supportive housing program plus serving families in an additional 65 units throughout the city of Chicago. The Primo Center is now expanding its services to New York City.

Primo Center is one of 24 nonprofits to receive the first Day 1 Families Fund grants, totaling $97.5 million. Primo Center is the only organization from Chicago to receive the funding.

 

About Bezos Day 1 Families Fund

Founded by Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos, the Bezos Day One Fund consists of two programs: the Day 1 Families Fund that provides grants to nonprofit organizations fighting homelessness, and the Day 1 Academies Fund that will fund and build a network of pre-schools in low-income communities across the country. The Day 1 Families Fund’s vision comes from the inspiring Mary’s Place in Seattle: no child should sleep outside. A small group of expert advisors provided input to the Bezos Day One Fund team to select these organizations. The Day 1 Families Fund will be awarding grants annually. For more information, visit www.BezosDayOneFund.org/Day1FamiliesFund.

About Primo Center

Established in 1978, the Primo Center is Chicago’s largest provider of family shelter and supportive services, touching more than 700 parents and children annually. To learn more, visit PrimoCenter.org.

Media Contact: Trish Hoffman
312-805-4314
trish@blitzgroupllc.com

The Primo Center Among First to Receive Bezos Day 1 Families Fund Grant

Click to view PDF

Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos donate $97.5 million to 24 nonprofits across the U.S. working on family homelessness

CHICAGO – November 20, 2018: The Primo Center is pleased to announce it has been selected to receive a $2.5 million grant from the Day 1 Families Fund to boost the organization’s programs focused on families experiencing homelessness. Funding from this grant will support new after-school programs, financial literacy services for residents, and employment training in four locations.

 The Primo Center will also focus on developing supports necessary for families to become more independent during and after shelter.

“This grant is transformational for the Primo Center,” said Christine Achre, CEO. “Funding from the Day 1 Families Fund allows the Primo Center to provide basic immediate resources to families most in need, while allowing the agency to further increase its long-standing impact on families experiencing homelessness. We are truly humbled and proud to be given this award.”

The Primo Center is one of 24 nonprofits to receive the first Day 1 Families Fund grants, totaling $97.5 million. Recipients from around the country include: Abode Services, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Miami, Catholic Community Services of Western Washington, Community of Hope, Community Rebuilders, Crossroads Rhode Island, District Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH), Emerald Development & Economic Network (EDEN) Inc., FrontLine Service, Hamilton Families, Heartland Family Service, Housing Families First, JOIN, LA Family Housing (LAFH), Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFS), Primo Center for Women and Children, Refugee Women’s Alliance (ReWA), SEARCH Homeless Services, Simpson Housing Services, The Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte, The Salvation Army of Greater Houston, UMOM New Day Centers and Urban Resource Institute (URI).

Founded by Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos, the Bezos Day One Fund consists of two programs: the Day 1 Families Fund that provides grants to nonprofit organizations fighting homelessness, and the Day 1 Academies Fund that will fund and build a network of pre-schools in low-income communities across the country. The Day 1 Families Fund’s vision comes from the inspiring Mary’s Place in Seattle: no child should sleep outside. A small group of expert advisors provided input to the Bezos Day One Fund team to select these organizations. The Day 1 Families Fund will be awarding grants annually. For more information, visit www.BezosDayOneFund.org/Day1FamiliesFund.

About The Primo Center
Established in 1978, the Primo Center is Chicago’s largest provider of family shelter and supportive services, touching more than 700 parents and children annually. To learn more, visit PrimoCenter.org.

Media Contact: Trish Hoffman
312-805-4314
trish@blitzgroupllc.com

When Chicago’s Homeless Kids Can’t Go to the Doctor, This Group Steps In

The Daily Beast

Two years ago, a new family—a young mother and her six kids—arrived at the Primo Center for Women and Children, a homeless shelter on the west side of Chicago. Mom had only a sixth grade education and the youngest child, a two-year-old girl, was hardly speaking.

Read article

ILCHF Commits $11.5 Million to Improve Children’s Mental Health

Awards Planning Grants to 5 Illinois Communities

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ICHF

Oak Brook, IL (July 9, 2018) — Building upon its successful Children’s Mental Health Initiative (CMHI 1.0), the Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation is applying lessons learned to help five more Illinois communities develop a coordinated system of care for children and families. The  Foundation awarded 13 month $200,000 planning grants to enable mental and physical health providers, schools, parents, youth and other community organizations to develop a plan to improve the health of their children and communities. If the planning process is successful, in November 2019 each of the five communities will receive a second grant of $2.1 million over six years to implement their plans.

At any point in time, one in 10 children in Illinois suffers from a mental illness severe enough to cause some level of impairment; yet, in any given year only about 20% of these children receive mental health services.[1] Children who are experiencing environmental trauma and stress, anxiety, or depression can be unable to learn or function to their full potential.  A coordinated system of care which includes their primary care doctor, school, community mental health provider and other services can give these children and their families the support they need to thrive at home, in school and in their communities.

“As a field, we know the best approaches to caring for children with behavioral and emotional problems, and early intervention is key,” said Amy Starin, PhD. LCSW. ILCHF Senior Program Officer for Mental Health. “Each community in Illinois is unique and these grants will give them the resources to plan together. It is the start of what we hope will be a successful implementation of their plan over the following six years.”

The five communities were selected through a rigorous review process from twenty-nine submitted proposals. “We are applying learning from the first four CMHI communities, and the CMHI 1.0 leadership will serve as mentors for this second round of grantees.  Evaluation will be an integral part of this work as we support these five new communities in creating evidence-based models that communities across Illinois can learn from,” explained Heather Alderman, ILCHF president. “Our greatest hope is that these projects will result in real change that helps move the State toward the ILCHF Vision that ‘Every Child in Illinois Grows up Healthy’“.

Funded Communities Include:

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About Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation

Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation (ILCHF) is the only statewide private foundation solely focused on improving the health of all children in the State of Illinois. ILCHF was created in December 2002 through an action of then Attorney General Jim Ryan and an Illinois insurance carrier. This action and a settlement of approximately $125 million established the Foundation’s endowment.

From 2002 to 2018, Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation has awarded more than $79 million in grants that have been invested in programs aimed at improving children’s overall health in Illinois, with a focus on oral health and mental health. For additional information about ILCHF, please see www.ilchf.org.

[1] Illinois Children’s Mental Health Partnership; FY 2017 Annual Report to the Governor

CONTACT:
Jennifer Amdur Spitz
Jennifer@AmdurSpitz.com
773-771-7696