CHICAGO – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) today announced the City has awarded $24 million to the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (The Partnership) to serve as the lead coordinating organization for the City’s Community Health Response Corps (Response Corps). This program is a part of the Chicago Recovery Plan, created to support recovery from the social, economic, and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Partnership, which was selected through a competitive process, will support community-based organizations (CBOs) to hire and supervise Response Corps members—resulting in approximately 150 new, sustained jobs.
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The Response Corps initiative will mobilize a team of community health outreach workers and build upon many of the learnings and gains from the City’s community outreach actions during the COVID-19 pandemic. This new Response Corps team will leverage the expertise and infrastructure CDPH, and its City and community partners developed for the COVID-19 emergency response while shifting to promoting overall health and resource connections in the City’s prioritized community areas based on economic hardship, COVID-19 vulnerability, and community safety.
“The City’s Community Health Response Corps is a necessary tool to support our most vulnerable residents who are still experiencing the social, economic and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “This collaboration between the City, the Chicago Department of Public Health and the Chicago Cook Workforce represents our commitment to taking care of our communities, and will provide expanded access to much-needed resources to ensure each of our residents can live healthy lives.”
“The Response Corps is an important step toward achieving the vision of Healthy Chicago 2025,” said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. “The Partnership stepped up during the COVID-19 response and led an innovative, wide-ranging program that has become a national model for building a public health workforce from within the hardest-hit communities through trusted, community-based partners. We are grateful that they will continue working hand-in-hand with neighborhood organizations to create a Chicago where all people and all communities have equitable access to the resources and opportunities they need to live their healthiest lives.”
The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated long-standing health disparities and necessitated swift mobilization in communities with high vulnerability to serious COVID-19 outcomes. The City responded by investing deeply in community health outreach and resources in high-risk communities, including through the formation of a Racial Equity Rapid Response Team (RERRT) and the COVID-19 Contact Tracing Corps.
... The work of the Response Corps is aligned with the vision of CDPH’s Healthy Chicago 2025 plan to close the racial life expectancy gap in Chicago, which has reached 10 years between Black and white Chicagoans, and reverse declines in life expectancy for Latinx populations.
The Community Health Response Corps is just one initiative within the broader $1.2 billion Chicago Recovery Plan to promote safe and thriving communities and an equitable economic recovery from COVID-19. For more information, including funding opportunities, visit chicago.gov/recoveryplan.