The Center to Transform Health and Housing

A child receiving a flu shot at a free vaccine clinic

The Center to Transform Health and Housing

We aim to provide high-quality, well-coordinated health and social care to improve the health of people experiencing homelessness and to collaborate with others to end homelessness in Chicago. We envision a center of excellence for interprofessional collaboration; the delivery of person-centered physical, mental health and social care; advocacy; and the improvement of health and housing equity for people experiencing homelessness.

To learn more or to contact a member of our team, please call (312) 563-4755.

Health Improvement Model

Clinical Services
  • Adult and Family Services
    • We provide health care to individuals in shelters and encampments and to those experiencing other forms of housing insecurity.
    • We offer medication-assisted recovery for substance use disorders.
    • We provide clinical social work services to individuals through referrals from partnering shelters.
    • We embrace a harm-reduction model by distributing fentanyl test strips and naloxone nasal spray, as well as providing education about the best practices for safe use.
  • Pediatric Services
    • We provide clinical management for acute and chronic health issues.
    • We supply referrals to primary care physicians and subspecialists when needed.
    • We administer seasonal vaccines.
    • We provide health education for staff and participants.
Education and Training
  • Student Fellowships
    • We provide an opportunity for student learners across departments to design and implement innovative direct-service projects aimed at improving the health and well-being of people experiencing homelessness.
  • M4 Student Elective
    • The Health Care and Homelessness elective is designed to have fourth-year medical students develop the skills and knowledge necessary to practice social medicine, especially as it relates to people experiencing homelessness.
  • Pediatric Residents and Students
    • Through the Kids Shelter Health Improvement Program (KidsSHIP), pediatric residents from Rush University and John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County, as well as medical students, accompany pediatric attendings to provide care to children experiencing homelessness.
    • Through the Child and Youth Enrichment Program, students from various disciplines serve as mentors to the children and youth to provide supportive relationships and opportunities to engage in play and other activities crucial to childhood development.
  • Rush Community Service Initiatives Program (RCSIP)
    • This program lines up volunteer experiences with the health needs in our surrounding communities on the West Side of Chicago.
    • RCSIP develops community programs that align with Rush’s community health improvement plan to address the health needs of the community.
    • RCSIP also provides appropriate support and training for student volunteers within the program.
Advocacy and Collaboration
  • We support advocacy and collaboration efforts through participation in the Chicago Homelessness and Health Response Group for Equity (CHHRGE), which uses an intersectoral approach.
  • CHHRGE is an open table, that is, a forum for anyone who works with people experiencing homelessness or who cares about them. We work together to identify and overcome barriers to the health and well-being of people experiencing homelessness and those who are vulnerably housed. You can view the CHHRGE white paper.
  • We serve as a conduit to organize community efforts and increase integration, both externally and internally, to streamline and enhance services.

Available Resources

The City of Chicago offers comprehensive resources for people experiencing homelessness.

You can also call us at (800) 757-0202 if you or someone you know needs assistance with resources or to speak with a social worker.

Children at a free flu vaccine clinic

Homelessness in Chicago

2021 data from the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services. The data is representative of any given night in Chicago.

Residents experiencing homelessness

4,477.00

Homeless individuals residing in shelters

3,023.00

Homeless individuals residing in locations not meant for human habitation

1,454.00

How You Can Help

Learn about opportunities to help our cause through donations and volunteering.

Learn More
Rush volunteers at a homeless shelter

Our Guiding Principles

  • Homelessness is a state.
  • Housing is health.
  • People with lived experience are the co-designers of our work.
  • We actively integrate behavioral and physical health care into our care delivery models.
  • Rush should build on its previous efforts to increase its impact by providing high-quality, integrated and accessible health care services for people experiencing homelessness, including those related to mental and physical health.
  • We have expertise but also humility as we work with our shelter provider partners.
  • Public policies impact the health of people experiencing homelessness and therefore legislative advocacy is an integral part of our work.
  • People experiencing homelessness generally have higher health care needs but have lower access to health care.
  • Education and research partnerships with the University are central. We want students to learn the specific competencies needed to provide high-quality care for people experiencing homelessness.
  • Partnerships and collaboration are at the core of what we do. We believe that an interdisciplinary, multi-specialty approach is critical.