Find news, updates, and media stories about the Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative's research and work in the community.

News, updates, and more

Learn more about the center's research findings, policy updates, and news. Click here for a complete list. 

Coronavirus stock image

Webinars on COVID-19 and Homelessness

The center offers a weekly round up of news and information from experts around the country on COVID-19 and homelessness. HRAC graduate research assistant Lauren Everett, a PhD candidate in urban studies at PSU, is writing a weekly memo featuring summaries from national webinars with experts to news articles on COVID-19 and homelessness. New memos will be added weekly. 

Read the COVID-19 and homelessness memos

Community and Wellbeing for Youth Experiencing Homelessness

Portland State University student and member of our center's summer research institute, Katricia Stewart, continues to shed light on youth homelessness with her advisor and center co-founder Dr. Greg Townley. Her recent study was in partnership with p:ear. Sense of community is essential, she found, but youth face challenges to building supportive relationships, according to study published in Journal of Community Psychology. 

Abstract of the study 

TEDx talk: So you think you understand homelessness by Dr. Zapata

In the United States, homelessness has become increasingly visible on our streets and in our media headlines. Everyone thinks they understand the issue, and many believe they know how to solve it. But they’re often wrong even about the most basic facets of the problem. The key to addressing homelessness is understanding the foundational causes and rethinking everything we think we know.

Video: Tedx talk

Members of the HRAC leadership team

Become a member of Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative

We are building a center that supports ongoing research and spurs the creation of new research projects about homelessness.

We invite faculty and staff from all disciplines with a commitment to social justice and racial equity who are interested in and committed to homelessness research to join our center. 

Faculty Membership

PSU faculty and student researchers at tiny house village

Faculty grants up to $25,000 now available from PSU Homelessness Collaborative

The center will release approximately $100,000 from an external gift this year to support research and creative work about or connected to addressing or preventing homelessness.

Funding can be used for up to two years of research and project support, including grant writing, with a maximum individual award of $25,000.Deadline: March 29, 2020.

Learn more or apply for funding.

Feds blame West Coast for national rise in homelessness

"As we look across our nation, we see great progress, but we're also seeing a continued increase in street homelessness along our West Coast where the cost of housing is extremely high," said HUD Secretary Ben Carson.

The report uses data from Point in Time counts across the country and does not include those living doubled up or an annualized count. The article cites the Center's report, which shows a much larger issue when you include those figures. 

Portland Tribune

Director to deliver TEDx talk Jan. 4th on Homelessness

Dr. Marisa Zapata will talk about rethinking homelessness and who has the right to housing. The talk will challenge misconceptions, tackle the impact of racism on housing and homelessness, and will likely inspire as well as entertain attendees Saturday, Jan. 4th at the Salem Convention Center. 

Find out more about TEDxSalem event

Article: New hope for people with serious mental illness

Because of their relevant knowledge of psychopathology, social factors and psychotherapy, psychologists with adequate specialized training can fill a unique role in treating people with serious mental illness. The article quotes Research Director Greg Townley on the need for housing and community connection in recovery. 

American Psychological Association

Center releases a hygiene & sanitation guide

For nearly a year, HRAC has convened a group of government officials, service providers, advocates, and people with lived experience of homelessness to address unmet waste management and hygiene needs of people living unsheltered.

This group created a hygiene and sanitation resource handout for local residents (both housed and unhoused).

Hygiene and sanitation guide

Portland Street Response pilot proposed/approved

Portland City Council approved the pilot program for Portland Street Response, which was informed by center research. The pilot will launch this spring as a new first response for those experiencing homelessness. We’re honored to evaluate the pilot.

Homelessness PDX Connection: Fall 2019 issue

Homelessness PDX Connection is a quarterly digital publication that includes research, policy, and program updates. This issue shares our student research event, hygiene guide, and a spotlight on nonprofit Play Grow Learn. 

Fall 2019 Issue

PSU faculty and student researchers at Street Roots

Student research on homelessness available online

Eleven students joined Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative for our first Summer Research Institute in 2020. 

They conducted research on everything from hygiene stations to youth homelessness. They helped develop the PSU homelessness and housing insecurity survey. They also had an opportunity to interview people experiencing homelessness for the Portland Street Response survey. We created a page to share their findings online.

Student research findings

Center secures first grant of its kind for university students

Portland State University is the first four-year institution in the nation to receive a grant from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Training and Education Program, which is designed to promote self-sufficiency for those who receive food stamp benefits. The $277,000 award will help PSU support some of its most vulnerable students.

Center helps shape Portland Street Response 

A team of community partners, including PSU’s Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative and Street Roots, released a report to help inform the Portland Street Response pilot program based on interviews with people experiencing homelessness. PDF iconDownload the report (PDF). The center was also selected to evaluate the program as it develops.

Dir. Zapata named unelected leader by Portland Mercury

"Marisa Zapata uses knowledge and data to understand and fight Portland’s homelessness epidemic. Zapata, an Urban Studies professor at Portland State University (PSU), also directs the university’s new Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative, a program tasked with studying the causes and effects of homelessness in the metro region. Her data has the potential to substantially shift the way we talk—and what we ."

Homelessness PDX Connection Summer 2019 Cover

Homelessness PDX Connection: Summer 2019 issue

Homelessness PDX Connection is a quarterly digital publication that includes research, policy, and program updates. This issue shares our upcoming survey to understand student and staff homelessness at Portland State University, the cost and scope of homelessness study, and a roundup of legislative bills on housing from the 2019 session. Sign up to get updates.

Marisa Zapata's Guest Opinion: Homelessness isn't the crisis you think it is

When the recent point-in-time count showed a 20% increase in people living unsheltered in Multnomah County compared to 2017, crisis language soon followed.

But homelessness isn't the crisis you think it is...

Portland Tribune

Report on the scope & scale of regional homelessness

In August 2019, HRAC released a report that estimated about 38,000 people experienced homelessness in Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties in 2017. It also showed that 107,039 households were housing insecure or at risk of homelessness in the three counties. The report provides a list of proven solutions, the cost of each, and revenue-raising options. PDF iconCost, governance, revenue final report (1).pdf

Center launches Mythbusters page to bust myths

This mythbusters page helps you identify what you think is true about homelessness and what is actually true. Features include a quiz, information graphic, and video. This is only the beginning of our work to shed light on the systemic causes of homelessness and solutions. 


Kenton Women's Village

Homelessness PDX Connection: Spring 2019 issue

Homelessness PDX Connection is a quarterly digital publication that includes research, policy, and program updates.Our first issue looks at the growth of sleeping pod villages thanks to the work of HRAC co-founders Todd Ferry and Sergio Palleroni. It also covers new research projects and the launch of the Summer Research Institute. Sign up to get updates.

Study shows well-being as vital as food/shelter for youth

A new study from Portland State University Community Psychology graduate student Katricia Stewart shows overall well-being is just as important as food and shelter for youth experiencing homelessness.

She published her study, "Intrapersonal and Social-contextual Factors Related to Psychological Well-being Among Youth Experiencing Homelessness," with her advisor Greg Townley in the Journal of Community Psychology.

Center continues work on Kenton Women's Village for women experiencing homelessness

In April 2019, the Kenton Women's Village expanded and moved to a new location. The village is a collection of sleeping pods with associated kitchen, common areas, and bathrooms to serve women transitioning out of homelessness. The design and build of the original village was led in part by HRAC co-founder Todd Ferry. Download HRAC's study of the village (PDF).

Director testifies at Oregon Senate Housing Committee about historic racism in zoning

Center Director Marisa Zapata provided testimony on exclusionary zoning and historic racism in zoning at the Oregon State Legislature Feb. 19, 2019 to help inform proposed legislation.

Listen to her full testimony here 

Portland State University sign

PSU opens two new research centers, including ours

In October 2018, Portland State University announced the creation of two new research centers of excellence, including the Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative.