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Cook County Health CEO Dr. Jay Shannon at the Cook County Health Research and Innovation Summit, "Housing is Health."
Cook County Health CEO Dr. Jay Shannon speaks at the Cook County Health Research and Innovation Summit.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Cook County Health CEO Dr. Jay Shannon announced on May 22 that Cook County Health is committing $1 million towards the Chicago and Cook County Flexible Housing Pool.

The Chicago and Cook County Flexible Housing Pool is a partnership between Cook County Health, the City of Chicago, the Chicago Housing Authority and the Housing Authority of Cook County, with the goal of rapidly housing vulnerable homeless individuals and connecting them with housing and supportive services.

As part of the program, Cook County Health identifies and refers participants by cross-referencing Cook County Health and Cook County Jail medical records, as well as CountyCare claims, focusing on high utilizers of hospital and jail services.

“I am pleased that Cook County Health is furthering its commitment to caring for the residents of Cook County by providing vulnerable individuals access to the resources they need to better their lives and their health,” President Preckwinkle said.

Currently, Cook County Health treats 83 percent of the single adult homeless population in Chicago, as identified through a data match between Cook County Health records and the Chicago Homeless Management Information System.

“The link between access to affordable housing and good health is clear,” Dr. Shannon said.  “By providing individuals with access to housing resources, we can work with them to reduce unnecessary emergency room visits and extended inpatient stays and provide needed preventive care to help them improve their health.”

Among the goals for Cook County Health’s financial commitment to this program is the expansion of the services to families, as well as providing housing opportunities to patients in suburban Cook County.

The announcement was made at Cook County Health’s Research and Innovation Summit. The event brought together key stakeholders from across the city, county and state to learn what Cook County Health is doing to address this critical social determinant of health.