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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Housing advocacy for low-income mothers and their high-risk infants: Experiences of Project Access

Jocelyn A. Hirschman, MPH1, Laura Barnickol, JD, MSW2, Minerva Esparza, LCSW3, Elaine Mister, RN4, and Julie Justicz, JD2. (1) Sinai Urban Health Institute, Sinai Health System, California Ave at 15th St., K430, Chicago, IL 60608, 773-257-5329, hirj@sinai.org, (2) Health & Disability Advocates, 205 W. Monroe St., 3rd Floor, Chicago, IL 60606, (3) Pediatrics, Mount Sinai Hospital, California Ave at 15th St., Chicago, IL 60608, (4) Pediatrics/Neonatalogy, University of Chicago Hospitals, 5841 S. Maryland Ave., MC 6060, Chicago, IL 60637

The lack of affordable, safe housing may take its greatest toll on low-income mothers with medically high-risk infants. Poor housing can pose serious health risks such as asthma or lead poisoning. It can also be a barrier to accessing care/services. Families may miss medical appointments or neglect to apply for benefits because they are overwhelmed with landlord/tenant issues and/or are preoccupied with finding affordable housing.

Project Access provides comprehensive case management and legal services to low-income families with infants admitted to two large urban NICUs due to very low birth weight (< 1500g) or other medical complications. This presentation describes the housing needs of a cohort of these families and discusses strategies used by Project Access to advocate for housing. Data is presented on 83 of the 153 infants enrolled who have been home from the NICU 6 months.

Mothers of high-risk infants faced many difficulties with housing: 33% lived at their address for <1 year, 29% lived in someone else’s home, 46% had difficulty paying rent, 20% were behind on rent payments, and 22% lived in poor housing conditions. Mothers living at their address for <1 year were significantly less compliant with their infants’ medical care in the 6 months post-NICU discharge (missed 29% of their medical appointments vs. 16%, p = .06).

Strategies used by Project Access to address housing issues include: referrals to housing sources, accessing homeless prevention funds, and preventing evictions through intervention with landlords and tenants. The successes and challenges of these approaches are discussed.

Learning Objectives: Participants in this session will be able to

Keywords: Housing, Advocacy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Maternal, Child, and Family Health

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA