Christine Haley, Director of Housing for Cook County Health, was recognized on Monday as a Crain’s Chicago Business’ 2021 Notable Healthcare Hero.
Crain’s released the list on Monday, which includes 34 individuals and 25 teams working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis.
Ms. Haley serves as Director of Housing at Cook County Health, developing strategy and implementing programs that connect patients with affordable housing, permanent supportive housing, medical respite and homeless prevention resources.
“Caring for people experiencing homelessness is central to our mission at Cook County Health,” Ms. Haley said. “I am grateful for the dedicated social workers, physicians and all the team members who I work with that have been dedicated during this pandemic to ensuring our patients have had access to critical resources.”
Patients experiencing homelessness face multiple challenges in accessing health care and stabilizing their health conditions. Without access to safe, stable and affordable housing, individuals and families can struggle to achieve optimal health.
“Christine Haley’s understanding of the linkage between secure and affordable housing and overall well-being is critically important to the work we are doing to help homeless residents of Cook County,” Dr. William Trick, Director of Cook County Health’s Health Research & Solutions. “She is an incredible advocate for those patients.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the health disparities and the difficulties that patients experiencing homelessness became even more pronounced. Those patients without stable housing faced difficult choices when recovering from COVID-19 due to limited options for remaining safely isolated.
In response, Ms. Haley worked with various community-based partners and the Chicago Departments of Family & Support Services and Public Health to convert the South Side YMCA into a COVID isolation center for people experiencing homelessness. The medical respite program (MRP) requires Ms. Haley to work with a range of organizations and agencies, from health care to public health to homeless services. The South Side YMCA MRP had one of the lowest entry barriers among area programs, ensuring that care opportunities were equitable. A trauma-informed care model was used to make sure the complex needs of the patient population were met.
“Cook County Health is proud of its historic mission of caring for the underserved, and that has been especially true during this pandemic. The work by individuals like Christine Haley has been instrumental to ensuring that we help our most vulnerable patients,” said Cook County Health CEO Israel Rocha Jr.
To support Cook County Health’s programs that serve homeless patients, please see https://cchealthfoundation.org/helping-the-homeless/.
Ms. Haley earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Notre Dame and a Master of Science in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University.