North of Howard Together

North of Howard Together (NOH Together)

Formed in the fall of 2021, and facilitated by Family Matters, North of Howard Together (NOH Together); seeks to amplify collaboration among representatives of local organizations  headquartered north of Howard in order to increase access to resources and strengthen community relationships. While collaboration between local organizations has always taken place, and the executive directors of the organizations have long-standing relationships, NOH Together marks the first initiative dedicated to bringing members of staff teams together for long-term, strategic work.

The group grew out of a growing desire of Family Matters families and members of other local groups to expand support for one another’s work, share and expand resources in the neighborhood, and build community. As a result of NOH Together, organizations are sharing resources and information, collaborating on funding proposals, organizing community events, and expanding linkage agreements.

Membership in NOH Together is open to staff members of organizations with physical locations in the North of Howard community (Howard St.-Chicago city limits, Sheridan-CTA Red Line tracks). Current member organizations include: A Just Harvest, Factory Theater, Family Matters, Gale Community Academy, Good News Partners, Housing Opportunities for Women, Howard Area Community Center, Rogers Park Business Alliance/Special Service Area #19, Tapestry 360 Health, The Recyclery, and Willye White Park Advisory Council.

The group meets monthly, including for an annual off-site team-building activity and quarterly “Coffee and Conversations” networking sessions. NOH Together hosts the annual North of Howard Juneteenth celebration and September Fall Clean-up, and participates in a variety of community events including Chalk Howard, the Willye White Park Summer Kick-Off, and the Gale Back-to-School Bash. 

For more information about NOH Together, please contact Ann Hinterman at ann(at)familymatterschicago(dot)org or by phone at 773.465.6011 x1115.
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Healthy Chicago Equity Zones: Rogers Park

In 2022, Family Matters became the Rogers Park co-lead organization to implement the City of Chicago’s Healthy Chicago Equity Zone (HCEZ) initiative. Together with Tapestry 360 Health (formerly Heartland Health Centers) and the HCEZ regional lead (Swedish Hospital), Family Matters has embarked on a multi-year project to identify, and take steps to resolve, barriers to health equity for populations whose life expectancies are below the city average. 

Family Matters’ work on this project is focused on social determinants of health, including increasing community connections as a method to protect against the effects of trauma, expanding access to resources (e.g., building a language access network for people who speak languages other than English), and building collaborations with area organizations to create new opportunities for the residents of North of Howard and the surrounding community.

North of Howard Shared Leadership Collective

The North of Howard Shared Leadership Collective seeks to find the most effective ways to support residents of North of Howard and to develop vital relationships within the community. The collaborative is currently focusing on ways to strengthen relationships between business owners and the people who spend a lot of time in front of their stores. It aims to hear the voices and perspectives of the people who have expressed concern about feeling unwelcome in their own community and to offer initiatives, activities, and events that originate from the spoken requests of residents.

For more information about the Shared Leadership Collective, please contact Kim DeLong at kim(at)familymatterschicago(dot)org or by phone at 773.338.6311.
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Environmental Sustainability

In 1995, Family Matters moved into our current home, a converted vintage residential three-flat building on a tree-lined block in the heart of a designated environmental justice community. Program participants, families, staff, volunteers, and community members have worked to transform the building into a “home away from home” and have guided our sustainability efforts.

In 2020, we became members of the first cohort of the Neighborhood Power Project. Through that project, we

  • installed a heat pump water heater,
  • completed an LED lighting retrofit project,
  • installed a smart thermostat,
  • expanded our compost and recycling efforts, and
  • eliminated single-use plastic through investments in durable eating ware and installation of two new water bottle refill stations.

Family Matters was recognized for this work in the City of Chicago’s 2022 Climate Action Plan” (see p. 47) and was invited to speak at Mayor Lightfoot’s press conference announcing the plan.


Operation Decarbonization: Eliminating the Use of Fossil Fuels at Family Matters

Family Matters has set the goal of being completely carbon-neutral by the year 2025. We will approach our work in two phases. 

Phase 1 will focus on tackling ways to bring down our energy costs and on preparing our systems to switch from natural gas to solar-generated electric power. This includes increasing our building’s insulation, installing new windows and doors, and replacing our electric service panel with a system capable of running all of our newly-electrified systems. We will swap our traditional gas stoves for energy-efficient electric ovens and induction burners.

Phase 2 will see us installing on-site solar panels and replacing our boiler system with a heat pump HVAC. The new heat pump will replace our gas-powered boiler/radiant steam heating system and energy-guzzling window AC units.

In 2023, Family Matters was awarded a City of Chicago Climate Infrastructure Fund grant, the first organization in Rogers Park to be so recognized. We will use this funding to complete Phase 1 of our cutting-edge decarbonization work. This project also provides an educational opportunity for owners of similar 2-4 flat apartment buildings, as we will open our space to all those who want to learn from what we are doing.