Photo credit : Amber Marie Green

Nutritious food, transportation, housing, jobs, financial assistance and more contribute to a healthier community


Noting that social determinants of health—like nutritious food and a place to call home—play a big role in health and well-being, the South Side Healthy Community Organization (SSHCO) today announced a significant investment in community resources as a key part of building health equity on Chicago’s South Side. Nearly one million dollars has been committed to local organizations that provide nutritious food, employment services, stable housing, emergency financial support and transportation services focused on getting South Side residents to and from medical appointments.

“We know that residents in certain areas of the city and state, including the South Side, live sicker and die much younger than their counterparts in more affluent zip codes, and we aim to change that for the long-term,” said Kimberly Hobson, CEO of the SSHCO. “As we were forming our plans, we heard loud and clear from the community of the important role social determinants of health play in wellness – people simply aren’t as healthy when they don’t have housing or employment or access to good food. So, a key part of our model from the beginning was developing a way to connect people to resources that can help.”

The SSHCO launched a competitive bid process to seek proposals from experienced South Side-serving social services and transportation organizations. The following organizations were awarded a one-year grant or contract with the SSHCO:

Dion’s Chicago Dream is dedicated to making an impact on food insecurity through Dream Deliveries, its flagship program which brings fresh produce right to the doorstep – providing five days’ worth of healthy food options every week at no cost to recipients. Dion’s Chicago Dream purchases the produce directly, so it is new and fresh for residents in need. The organization, anchored in Englewood, owns its vehicles and hires operations specialists, liaisons, and other workers from the communities they serve.

Christian Community Health Center is an FQHC that links quality health care and housing. CCHC provides supportive housing services that include interim and permanent placements. For SSHCO enrollees, CCHC plans to provide housing and case management services after hospital discharge, and help its clients with ongoing primary, dental and behavioral health care through referrals.

Phalanx Family Services located in West Pullman was chosen to provide employment services, with a focus on building self-sufficiency through jobs. Phalanx offers two dozen youth and adult programs that provide tools and resources required to both obtain and sustain employment. Support includes job readiness training, career search assistance and job placement opportunities. Phalanx also works to reduce the barriers to employment – like expenses for transportation, uniforms, skill development and wrap-around support.

Centro Comunitario Juan Diego (CCJD) provides multifaceted programming to serve the needs of the local South Chicago community, including health support, trainings and health fairs, utility assistance, and food pantry access. With the SSHCO grant, CCJD will increase its capacity in emergency resources to help South Side residents avoid a utility shut off, obtain clothing and footwear, receive emergency food services, and acquire transportation for mammogram screenings when needed. CCJD listens closely to the needs of the community and collaborates with many other local organizations to provide a strong support system for residents.

Trek World USA was awarded a contract with the SSHCO to provide non-emergency medical transportation to help South Side residents get to and from medical appointments. It is the first Black-owned healthcare technology company offering a digital on-demand non-emergency medical transport platform. Trek has 24/7 support services through its call center, text, email and chat features. All of its vehicles are wheelchair accessible.

The SSHCO plans to have these partnerships up and running to benefit SSHCO enrollees starting later this spring.

These agency partners will all be featured in the next SSHCO virtual town hall, Community Health Conversation, on Wednesday, March 15 from 9 to 10 a.m. These quarterly town halls are designed to regularly update South Side community and faith leaders, elected officials and residents on services, benefits and opportunities, and to hear directly from the community. Anyone can attend this free, informative event via the SSHCO website:


About the South Side Healthy Community Organization (SSHCO)

The South Side Health Community Organization (SSHCO) is a non-profit organization made possible through funding from the state’s Healthcare Transformation Collaboratives initiative. Incorporated in the fall of 2021, it is comprised of 13 healthcare partners on the South Side of Chicago, including three hospital systems, four safety net hospitals and six Federally Qualified Health Centers. The partners include Advocate Trinity Hospital, Beloved Community Family Wellness Center, Chicago Family Health Center, Christian Community Health Center, Friend Health, Jackson Park Hospital, Near North Health, The New Roseland Community Hospital, St. Bernard Hospital, Sinai Chicago – Holy Cross Hospital, South Shore Hospital, TCA Health, and University of Chicago Medicine. It was formed to put an urgent and sustainable focus on improving health outcomes for South Siders by expanding access to health care, connecting patients to social resources and supporting residents along their wellness journey through hands-on care coordination.

Specifically, the SSHCO is improving the health and well-being of South Side residents by adding primary care doctors, maternal care and behavioral health care specialists; creating connections between all 13 of its partners through a shared technology platform; hiring community health workers and nurse care coordinators to work directly with patients to help them navigate the health system and access resources; and now, partnering with community resources for a more holistic approach to health.


From the Web