Last month, we shined a spotlight on Onward Neighborhood House, the location of our first telehealth-focused clinic site. This month, we’re talking about Enlace Chicago, a social service agency located in Little Village, which will be the THIRD location where CommunityHealth patients can access health care, as soon as this summer.
In 1998, the Little Village Community Development Corporation was founded to provide community-driven counsel regarding the development of an abandoned industrial park. As more and more residents got on board with the LVCDC, their mission expanded to include broader community engagement, such as organizing block clubs and implementing violence prevention programs. With the support of the community members, and after a 19-day hunger strike, the abandoned industrial park became the Little Village Lawndale High School (which opened in 2005).
However, this first achievement was only the beginning.
Keeping their focus on education in the early 2000s, LVCDC partnered with local schools to create the Community Schools program, which is still in effect today. A Community School is a “safe, accessible community center” that provides programming for the whole family. There, students, parents, and school staff can work together to increase “academic achievement, skill building, socio-emotional learning and leadership development.” The resources at a Community School give the young community members of Little Village access to mental and behavioral health services, extracurricular arts, internship opportunities, and more. The success of this program led to LVCDC’s partnership with CeaseFire a state-government program (1999-2015) dedicated to ending gun violence by means of “prevention, intervention and community-mobilization strategies.”
With the support of Illinois behind them and the Community School program going strong, LVCDC expanded their scope to support local initiatives and help establish other networks of community aid. They were officially renamed Enlace in 2008, and today they serve over 8,000 people in Little Village. Though Enlace has incorporated a variety of aims into their work over the years, they have always remained committed to meeting the needs of the Little Village community and empowering those community members along the way.
Today, Enlace places focus on four distinct topics: education, community health, immigration, and safety. Enlace addresses these interconnected topics with four key strategies:
1) organizing and advocacy
2) program implementation and service delivery
3) convening and community planning
4) individual and community capacity building
An ideal partner for CommunityHealth
In CommunityHealth’s analysis of patient zip codes, it became clear that Little Village and its surrounding neighborhoods (including Lawndale, Cicero, and Brighton Park) are home to a large number of our current patients. Enlace’s current network of community health workers have long been referring uninsured individuals to CommunityHealth for care, but the commute to clinic is burdensome. They also provide key services like legal assistance that so many of our patients need. As a well-established organization already dedicated to health and immigration, Enlace is the perfect next colocation partner for CommunityHealth.
We can’t contain our excitement!
On June 1st, we plan to officially open the doors to CommunityHealth at Enlace within the organization’s beautiful new facility. Stay tuned for more information about this exciting milestone, including details on the services we will provide, how to schedule an appointment, and what Community Health at Enlace’s hours of operation will be. In the meantime, check out Enlace’s website to learn more about the abundance of initiatives and services they provide to the Little Village community. We look forward to joining them soon!