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L'Arche Chicago (www.larchechicago.org) is a non-profit organization in Oak Park, IL that provides high quality health, housing, and social services to people with with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD), whom L'Arche terms "core members." L'Arche Chicago's unique model of care differs from other community-integrated living arrangements (CILA) in that staff, assistants, and core members live together in homes and develop mutually-transforming relationships through shared life experiences. L'Arche Chicago opened its doors in 2000 with one home, two core members, and two assistants. Today, L'Arche Chicago has three homes, two of which opened in the past four years, and a total of nine core members and fourteen assistants.As L'Arche Chicago has grown, and anticipates further growth, the organization recognized a need to be able to define, visualize, and express their larger organizational theory of change and identify and track outcomes to measure L'Arche's impact on members, assistants, and the wider community. To do this, the Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation collaborated with the Social IMPACT Research Center (IMPACT) to provide technical assistance to L'Arche Chicago with the goal of developing a theory of change
New Moms (www.newmoms.org) is a non-profit organization based in the Austin neighborhood in Chicago and in Oak Park, IL that provides wraparound health, housing, and social services to young moms. New Moms utilizes an integrated, participant (and woman)-centered approach to interrupt the two-generation cycle of poverty, by focusing on critical life services both for moms and children. The current program structure is built on a three-pronged approach of housing, family support services, and job training, with over arching support and referral services infused throughout all programming.The New Moms SROI study encompassed October 2015 - September 2017, and included all young women who exited any of the three New Moms program areas during this time and who fell below 138% of the Federal Poverty Line.The findings show that investing in New Moms generates nearly a 4-fold return for every dollar invested. This SROI clearly makes the case that transitional supportive housing, paired with holistic wrap around services, is a critical intervention, specifically for young moms. If, as a society, we believe in investing in breaking the two-generation cycle of poverty, then the value provided by this model should serve as a clear call to investment.
To be homeless is to live on the streets. Or in a Housing Forward shelter. Or on someone's couch. In Oak Park, more than five percent of our residents live in extreme poverty, making less than $9,000 a year. About 15 percent of our residents are food insecure, meaning they don't know where they will get their next meal. Too many live one missed rent payment from eviction—and homelessness. The homeless are not just on our streets. They are our classmates at school, and our parents and friends from work or church or baseball teams. They are members of our community. In all, about 200 kids in elementary schools and high schools are homeless. They are living with friends or relatives sleeping on couches with no permanence. The Oak Park Homelessness Coalition is working to change that.Together, we can end homelessness in Oak Park.
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