The Homeless Health Initiative (HHI) thanks 2016 – 2017 HHI LEND fellows Rachel Honore (Family Fellow), Jessica Bodie (Psychology), Carolyn McAnlis, RND, LDN, (Clinical Nutrition) and Lauren Ruegger, MEd, CCC/SLP (Speech and Language Pathology), for their contributions to HHI in 2017.

Honore’s community leadership project with HHI was working with the Building Early Links to Education (BELL) program. BELL focuses on linking children experiencing homelessness with high-quality early childhood education by increasing enrollment of these children, connecting emergency housing programs with early childhood education providers and facilitating the sharing of expertise between the housing programs and early childhood centers. Janette Herbers, PhD, and J.J. Cutuli, PhD, are the principal investigators directing BELL. Honore was an integral member of the BELL team, taking a lead role in connecting BELL to key early childhood agencies and initiatives in the region.

Honore was instrumental in helping to make the shelters more developmentally appropriate for young children. This resulted in 16 emergency and transitional housing providers participating in early reading initiatives headed by the Free Library’s Read by Fourth campaign. Through Honore’s leadership, the housing agencies have each received a bookshelf stocked with 80 new books donated by the Read by Fourth campaign and other furniture donated by Ikea.

Honore also secured memberships for each emergency and transitional housing provider in the Philly Reads program to ensure that they had additional books through the end of 2017.

Bodie’s community experience was with HHI, where she was introduced to the shelters, the resident families, and their issues and needs. She also worked with McAnlis and Ruegger with the HHI Breastfeeding Friendly Shelter Initiative.

McAnlis and Ruegger, with support from Bodie, surveyed local shelter staff and moms living in shelter to learn about the conditions (or nonexistence) of breastfeeding areas in shelters, as well as the shelter environment and their experiences around breastfeeding. They used this feedback to create a list of suggested items and equipment for breastfeeding spaces. They made a resource binder, which will remain in breastfeeding/pumping spaces, as a way to answer common questions mothers have that range from latching and breast problems to pumping and returning to work. Lactation consultants at CHOP reviewed and approved the binder documents.

We are actively working with HHI LEND Fellows for 2017 – 2018: Cally Orme, MS, CF-SLP (Speech and Language Pathology), Chelsea Sedeyn, MS, CF-SLP (Speech and Language Pathology), Paige Seegan (Psychology), Kristen Toole (Audiology), Elizabeth Balance (Physical Therapy) and Melissa Maye, MA (Psychology).