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The social settlement reform movement originated in England in 1884 The first famous settlement house in the United States was the Hull House on Halsted Street on the west side of Chicago founded in 1889 Addams 1910 Davis 1959 As part of this movement the educated reformers from the upper class who were called residents or settlement workers actually moved into working class neighborhoods in the congested cities Davies 1959 where they actively promoted community development through regularly visiting homes and business The central purpose of settlement workers visits to the home and to the community was to improve the living conditions of the poor Imagine these settlement workers dealing with the following conditions Alleys halls and courts of multiple houses were regarded by tenants and public alike as extensions of the highway street Doors into hallways privies and cellars went unlocked day and night and invited abominations and crime Dark halls and stairways could not but be filthy and dangerous Children risked their limbs on slimy and crowded sidewalks and roadways because there was no alternative but stagnation in one or two stuffy rooms Woods Kennedy 1922 pp 231-232 First during home-community visits the settlement workers promoted the well-being of all family members especially frail children by educating the family about the importance of health and sanitation Through the intervention of home visits the settlement workers helped reduce infant mortality by promoting healthy early child care and education During home visits the settlement workers provided support to families in medical crisis which was an informal way of educating them about health Woods and Kennedy 1922 reported that they served as impromptu nurses in child birth bound up cuts and bruises dispensed simple remedies gave aid and comfort pending arrival of doctor supplied food medicine and sick room utensils performed the housework os stricken mothers to keep the family together p 247 Second during home-community visits the settlement workers alleviated the
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