Affinity Groups

Affinity groups within the Chicago CoC’s Implementation Structure (CoC IS) are collaborative forums formed around shared concerns, whether related to specific populations, organizations with similar missions, or connections with other systems. Comprising dedicated community members and stakeholders, these groups play a pivotal role in addressing mutual needs and concerns within the Chicago CoC. Affinity groups work in partnership with the Chicago CoC to achieve system goals, focusing on priority areas, piloting refinements, and identifying key questions for the community. Each group is supported by an assigned All Chicago staff liaison, ensuring visibility and alignment within the CoC IS framework.

Learn more about established affinity groups in the overview below.

HIV Housing Advisory Task Group

Overview: Ending homelessness and unstable housing for those living with HIV or AIDS
Point of Contact:

  • Michael Herman, Chicago House (
  • Arturo Bendixen, Community Advocate (
Service Providers Commission (SPC)

Overview: The SPC is an organized voice for homeless service providers to ensure continuous improvement of the homeless service system. Our purpose is to:

  • Establish strong, positive collaboration with the Chicago CoC.
  • Establish strong, positive collaboration with public and private funders, policy makers, and corporations.
  • Effectively influence public policy related to homeless services through advocacy.
  • Significantly increase public and private financial resources for service providers.

Point of Contact:

  • Robret Simpson, Franciscan Outreach (
  • Britt Shawver, Housing Opportunities for Women (
  • Felix Matlock, Mercy Housing (
Women’s Affinity Group

Overview: To elevate the issue of unaccompanied women’s homelessness and amplify women’s voices so that their housing, income, and health needs are prioritized in our CoC systems.

Point of Contact:

  • Kathleen Molnar, Sarah’s Circle (
  • Lee Poe, Sarah’s Circle (
Domestic Violence

Overview: The Network: Advocating Against Domestic Violence will create a task force of service providers to address housing for survivors in the City of Chicago. This process will be similar to the development of other membership-based committees.

Point of Contact:

  • Jaclyn Zarack Koriath, The Network (
Ending Veteran Homelessness Initiative

Overview: The Ending Veteran Homelessness Initiative (EVHI) is the Veterans component of the Chicago Coordinated Entry System. This group brings together key partners to implement strategic initiatives to end Veteran homelessness.

Point of Contact

  • Ken Lewin, Jesse Brown VA (
  • Chelsea Kelley, Jesse Brown VA (
Homeless Youth Committee

Overview: Since 1983, the Homeless Youth Committee has advocated for the needs of unaccompanied youth through strategic campaigns and public policy initiatives.

Point of Contact

  • Flora Koppel, Unity Parenting and Counseling (
  • Sam Paler-Ponce, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (
Collaborative on Child Homelessness

Overview: To improve health outcomes for young children, families, and pregnant persons experiencing housing insecurity by increasing capacity and fair access to housing through a deliberate racial equity and justice lens. The Collaborative is focused on children birth to six and pregnant persons based on the developmental vulnerability of the child as demonstrated by Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) studies.

Point of Contact:

  • Mary Elsner, JD, Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics (
  • Abby Creek, Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics (
CHHRGE Health Equity Affinity Group

Overview: The Health Equity Affinity Groups sits within CHHRGE. Chicago Homelessness and Health Response Group for Equity (CHHRGE) is focused on health equity and racial equity. The Health Equity Affinity Group will work to address the healthcare needs of people experiencing homelessness, and we define healthcare broadly to include mental health, substance use treatment and harm reduction, vision and dental care, and other wrap-around services. We will lift the voice of people with lived experience, which can include individuals and families who are unsheltered, in a shelter, in hotel/motels, or doubled up. We will also support the Chicago CoC’s work to provide more permanent supportive housing and work to establish systems and funding alignment across housing and health sectors.

Point of Contact:

  • Jess Lynch, Illinois Public Health Institute (
  • Eugenia Olison, Rush University Medical Center (
Employment & Income Task Force Affinity Group

Overview: The Employment & Income Task Force works to improve the connections between the homeless response and workforce systems for unhoused Chicagoans. Anyone and everyone who is interested in increasing emplyment and income opportunities for unhoused Chicagoans are welcome to join.

Point of Contact

  • Nancy Phillips, Inspiration Corps (
  • Angela Morrison, Chicago Jobs Council (
  • Todd Schultz, North Side Housing (
  • Juliana Gonzalez-Crussi, Center for Changing Lives (

How to Create an Affinity Group

Affinity Group Criteria

To be considered part of the CoC Implementation Structure (CoC IS), Affinity Groups must register with the All Chicago, the CoC Lead Agency. Affinity Groups should appoint one person to register the group. Affinity Groups must:

  • Have designated lead(s) of the group that serves as the primary Point of Contact for other CoC Members and stakeholders looking to join.
  • Accept CoC members (Affinity Groups may stipulate guidelines for membership).
  • Have an established purpose or goals with activities that are clearly tied to the CoC System Goals.
  • Convene at least every other month.

To be invited to the CoC IS Strategy sessions, Affinity Groups must be registered and have held at least one meeting in the month prior to the session.


Affinity Group registration and approval is reviewed and approved as part of the CoC IS by the CoC Implementation Structure Lead Project Managers and CoC Board Chair. If additional guidance is needed about the Affinity Group joining the CoC IS, the request will be brought to the CoC Executive Board Committee. If needed Affinity Group candidates can request to meet directly with the Executive Committee. Interested parties should register using the button below.