Chicago Health | Homepage
Above & Beyond: Heartland Alliance Provides Housing, Healthcare Options to Help End Poverty

Above & Beyond: Heartland Alliance Provides Housing, Healthcare Options to Help End Poverty

By Megy Karydes

The cycle is familiar to many living in poverty. Charles was trying to land on his feet after a short-term incarceration, but he encountered barriers to obtaining health insurance as well as housing. Without a home, his health worsened. Without a home or healthcare, he was unable to maintain a job. And without that income, he was unable to afford a home. Medicaid expansion provided the comprehensive health benefits Charles needed to improve his health and hold a steady job in order to escape homelessness, says Daniel Rabbitt, health policy project manager with Heartland Alliance.

Heartland Alliance, the leading antipoverty organization in the Midwest, aims to break that cycle by providing housing, healthcare, job training and other supports to those living in poverty as well as advocating for permanent policy solutions that alleviate poverty. Among the many programs it provides, its Policy and Advocacy team works to reduce barriers to healthcare for those who need it and cannot access it.

“Many of our participants are not only experiencing poverty, but are also grappling with other challenges, like addiction, chronic homelessness or mental illness,” Rabbitt says. “Our policy team works with staff and participants to identify barriers to health coverage and advance solutions to increase access.”

Individuals experiencing homelessness, severe mental illness and other significant problems are often the most expensive users of publicly funded programs, according to Rabbitt. “Ensuring [that] our participants have access to community treatment not only improves their lives but also saves taxpayer dollars in the long run by avoiding unnecessary stints in hospitals or institutions,” he says. “Providing reliable access also honors the fundamental human rights of those experiencing homelessness and other significant challenges. Full access to healthcare services is essential to have the opportunity everyone deserves to achieve good health and improve their lives. That should be important to all Illinoisans.”

People can help improve the lives of those who are struggling by treating them with respect and by letting elected officials know that policies that address poverty in their communities and throughout Illinois are important. Many antipoverty organizations, including Heartland Alliance, operate email lists that can keep you informed of current issues and policy.

“Improving health policy is really about protecting human rights,” Rabbitt says. “Everyone has the opportunity to get involved in this work on some level.”

Originally published in the Fall 2015 print edition. Photos Courtesy of Heartland Alliance

Similar Articles

Bringing the Arts to the Blind

Bringing the Arts to the Blind

Local organizations offer touch tours and audio description By Megy Karydes Brett Shishkoff goes to the theater,

Erie Family Health Center

Erie Family Health Center

Innovative program trains medical residents; helps community members Luis Rivera, MD, Erie Family Health Center. Photo

Almost Home Kids

Almost Home Kids

Facility bridges the gap between hospital and home By Megy Karydes Mary*, 9 months old, with skeletal dysplasia

Mobile Care Chicago: Hitting the Road for Health 

Mobile Care Chicago: Hitting the Road for Health 

Photo above: Courtesy of Mobile Care Chicago By Megy Karydes Healthcare in a van? Many low-income children and

Above & Beyond: Action for Healthy Kids Makes Schools Healthier Places

Above & Beyond: Action for Healthy Kids Makes Schools Healthier Places

By Megy Karydes Children spend 1,000 hours a year and consume as many as half their

Articles By Category

Family Health

In The Know

CH Lifestyle

May 2017
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
April 30, 2017 May 1, 2017 May 2, 2017 May 3, 2017 May 4, 2017 May 5, 2017 May 6, 2017
May 7, 2017 May 8, 2017 May 9, 2017 May 10, 2017 May 11, 2017 May 12, 2017 May 13, 2017
May 14, 2017 May 15, 2017 May 16, 2017 May 17, 2017 May 18, 2017 May 19, 2017 May 20, 2017
May 21, 2017 May 22, 2017 May 23, 2017 May 24, 2017 May 25, 2017 May 26, 2017 May 27, 2017
May 28, 2017 May 29, 2017 May 30, 2017 May 31, 2017 June 1, 2017 June 2, 2017 June 3, 2017

Categories

Recent Comments

Fund a Cure Night | The Griffith Family Foundation

Fund a Cure Night | The Griffith Family Foundation

Enjoy a great night of baseball at Peoples Natural

VIEW ARTICLE
Swing for the fences in the fight to Sideline Pancreatic Cancer

Swing for the fences in the fight to Sideline Pancreatic Cancer

Enjoy a great night of baseball at Peoples Natural

VIEW ARTICLE

Archives