Baby playing with legos

Housing Insecurity and Homelessness in Illinois Among the Pregnant and Parenting (HIHIPP)

A project to develop an action plan to prevent and end homelessness for expectant parents, young children and their families in Illinois.

Homelessness among pregnant and postpartum persons and young children and their families is a significant, growing problem in Illinois. Housing insecurity and homelessness while pregnant contributes to an array of adverse maternal health outcomes. Similarly, homeless experiences during early childhood years can have lasting impacts on child health and development. Unfortunately, child and family homelessness is often less visible than homelessness among other populations and is therefore often overlooked by government officials and other community leaders. The result is that national, state, and local responses to persistent homelessness do not adequately address the unique needs and conditions that families experiencing homelessness experience.  

To address this critical issue, Start Early, the University of Illinois Chicago Center for Research on Women and Gender, and the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless are collaborating on the Housing Insecurity and Homelessness in Illinois among the Pregnant and Parenting project (HIHIPP). The project team will lead the development of an action plan to prevent and end homelessness for expectant parents, young children, and their families in Illinois. 

Project Overview and Timeline

March-May 2024: Discovery

This phase includes a review of existing policies, research and data on family/child homelessness, identification of gaps in policies, research and data, and creation of an inventory of relevant past or current  initiatives focused on child/family homelessness  in Illinois or elsewhere across the country.

June-November 2024: Theory of Change

In this phase, the project team will collaborate with stakeholders, including people with lived experience, to create a Theory of change that clearly identifies the primary drivers of homelessness for Illinois families at the local, state, and federal level and articulates a strategy for preventing and ending homelessness among expectant parents and young children and their families in Illinois, complete with identified impact goals, objectives, and outputs/activities.  

December 2024-March 2025: Action Plan

In the final phase of the project, the project team will continue partnering with stakeholders to create an action plan that identifies a set of levers that are most likely to reduce homelessness among pregnant people and families with young children in Illinois over the next 5 years.

Other Project Activities and Components

  • Convene an Advisory Committee of cross-systems experts and leaders, including individuals with lived experience, to provide support and guidance on project activities. 
  • Compile and examine policies, research and data, and promising initiatives as it relates to homelessness among pregnant people and families with young children, with an intentional focus on youth who are pregnant or parenting, individuals experiencing homelessness who are living with or at high risk of HIV infection while pregnant, formerly incarcerated women parenting young children, and women and children experiencing domestic violence.  
  • Conduct listening sessions and other engagement opportunities to gather input and feedback from experts, people with lived experience, and system leaders to inform development of the Theory of Change and Action Plan. 
  • Create a public facing report detailing findings from the project, including a comprehensive Action Plan aligned to the Theory of Change that identifies priorities for impact in the current landscape.