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File #: 2524-2020    Version: 1
Type: Ordinance Status: Passed
File created: 11/2/2020 In control: Health & Human Services Committee
On agenda: 11/9/2020 Final action: 11/12/2020
Title: To authorize the Director of the Department of Development to enter into contract with the Community Shelter Board for the homelessness prevention program for pregnant women; to authorize an appropriation and expenditure within the Neighborhood Initiatives subfund; and to declare an emergency. ($75,000.00)
Sponsors: Elizabeth Brown, Priscilla Tyson
Attachments: 1. 2524-2020
Explanation
This ordinance authorizes the Director of the Department of Development to enter into contract with the Community Shelter Board (CSB) for the homelessness prevention program for pregnant women. Pregnant women experiencing homelessness are less likely to have adequate prenatal care and more likely to have a baby born premature and low birth weight. In a recent study, the stress of homelessness, “was more strongly predictive of preterm birth and low birth weight than even smoking and substance abuse.” Unfortunately, homelessness affects Black women disproportionately in Columbus and elsewhere, further contributing to the high infant death rates experienced by Black families.

For pregnant women who already have children, another concern is the stress and negative effects that homelessness and shelter stays have on children. Homeless children are four times more likely to experience delayed development and two times as likely to repeat a grade compared to non-homeless children. They also attend an average of two different schools in a single year, affecting the continuity of their academic attainment. Housing is an effective healthcare intervention. Fifty percent of school-age homeless children experience anxiety, depression, or withdrawal compared to 18% of non-homeless children.

The program will serve pregnant women at imminent risk of becoming homeless and provide them with the services they need to become self-sufficient, prevent them from becoming homeless and help provide a safe, healthy home for their baby. CSB will work directly with service providers to identify pregnant women who are in an unstable housing situation that endangers them or the health of their baby.

Emergency action is requested in order to immediately provide the Community Shelter Board with the resources necessary to avoid any delay in serving pregnant women at risk of homelessness.

Fiscal Impact: Funding is available within the Neighborhood Initiatives subfund.

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