Student Research

Student Research

Photo of Street Roots

Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative helps students hone their skills to become the next generation of thinkers to solve homelessness. Our students explore topics ranging from the history of housing policies to youth homelessness.

Working with students is one of the best parts of the job," said Research Director Greg Townley, "because they bring new insight.

 

History of Housing Policy in the United States

Graduate student Lauren Everett created a brief history of housing policy in the United States from 1843 to the present. She looked at major events that helped shape our country’s understanding and policies around property. Events include everything from the donation land claim act, which entitled each white, male settler to 320 acres in the Oregon territory, to the rent control stabilization legislation in 2019. 

Researchers Lauren Everett, Marta Petteni (PSU)
Status Completed
Funding Internal (HRAC Summer Institute)
Downloads Housing History Poster (PDF)

Safe Parking at PSU

Between 11% and 14% of university students experience homelessness around the country, which underscores a need for immediate solutions. This poster examines a proposed program for Safe Parking at PSU where students and staff experiencing homelessness can use their parking pass to sleep in their vehicles at night for emergency shelter. The program would link students and staff to facilities and support including mailing addresses, kitchen facilities, and showers. 

Researchers Rebecca Taylor (PSU)
Status Completed
Funding Internal (HRAC Summer Institute)
Downloads Safe Parking Pilot (PDF)

    Urban Care Stations

    Hygiene, waste, and sanitation in the Portland metropolitan region is a broad and complex need for those experiencing homelessness, but it’s also a need in public spaces and during post-disaster recovery. Student researchers examined case studies around the world and identified seven needs: comprehensive amenities in an ADA accessible space, off-grid, collaboration and partnership, 24-hour service, flexible space, scalable and replicable, and monitored and evaluated. 

    Researchers Sarah Mercurio, Marta Petteni (PSU)
    Status Completed
    Funding Internal (HRAC Summer Institute)
    Downloads Urban Care Stations (PDF)

      Indigenous Housing in Metro Areas: Leveraging Federal Block Grants for Urban Housing

      The federal Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) is typically prioritized for housing on reservations or tribal lands. However, the population of indigenous peoples living in metropolitan areas is growing. In Portland, the Nesika Illahee development, in part funded by an IHBG grant, is a case study in financing multi-family housing in urban areas with units prioritized for indigenous families, which continue to face homelessness at disproportionately higher rates. 

      Researchers Molly Esteve (PSU)
      Status Completed
      Funding Internal (HRAC Summer Institute)
      Downloads Indigenous Housing (PDF)

        Homelessness Count Methodologies Literature Review

        This literature review on homeless count methods provides a brief history of homelessness in the U.S., an account of count efforts, and an overview of methods used. It illustrates that no method is capable of providing a comprehensive count of the homeless, and all methods have inherent disadvantages that often rely upon flawed assumptions. The practical impact of these counts on policy is substantial. Therefore, this review should encourage discussion as to what data communities need for policy and program development and implementation, and whether homeless counts actually fulfill this need. 

        Researchers Jennifer Lee-Anderson (PSU)
        Status Completed
        Funding Internal (HRAC Summer Institute)
        Downloads Homeless Count Methods (PDF)

          Business Improvement Districts and Enhanced Service Districts

          In an Enhanced Service District (ESD) property managers are required to pay a license fee, and the money from that license fee is used to fund extra security, marketing, and cleaning programs. ESDs patrol a huge chunk of Portland’s public space. Despite their significant role in managing public spaces, oversight for ESDs is very limited. The city government collects the assessed fees and gives it to the overseeing organizations to spend. There are no oversight measures for these organizations mandated by law.

          Researchers Kaitlyn Dey (PSU)
          Status Completed
          Funding Internal (HRAC Summer Institute)
          Downloads

          ESD Fact Sheet (PDF)

          BIDs Presentation (PDF)

            Exploring Narratives and Concerns: Applied Linguistics in Homelessness Research

            Understanding and addressing problematic narratives surrounding homelessness is one of the primary objectives of the Homelessness Research and Action Collaborative. We began to do this by mapping out different stakeholders and identifying texts such as social media posts, policy documents, and local news articles which reflect the language used by various groups to discuss and promote their concerns and beliefs about homelessness. Over 11,000 reports were analyzed.

            Researchers Wendy Nuttelman (PSU)
            Status Completed
            Funding Internal (HRAC Summer Institute)
            Downloads Exploring Narratives Report (PDF)

              Kenton Women’s Village Update and Survey

              Homeless shelters can be chaotic and sometimes not much better than living on the streets. Sleeping pod villages, such as Kenton Women’s Village, provide opportunities for community development while still allowing privacy and security. The village model provides a more incremental transition into permanent housing from the streets rather than a sudden transition. This report provides an update on the village and results of a survey that explored physical health, mental health, demographic information, and level of satisfaction with village living.

              Researchers Marta Petteni and Emily Leickly (PSU)
              Status Completed
              Funding Internal (HRAC Summer Institute)
              Downloads Kenton Women's Village Presentation (PDF)

                Useful Waste

                The Useful Waste Initiative is an alternative and more sustainable way of thinking about construction waste. It encourages material diversion and aims to reframe views on waste management during the design and construction process. It guides the process to repurpose and utilize an overlooked material resource- envelope construction mock-ups. It also provides the opportunity to contribute to and support efforts to address pressing social needs with local communities, including shelter for the homeless.

                Researchers Rebecca Taylor (PSU)
                Status Completed
                Funding Internal (HRAC Summer Institute)
                Downloads Useful Waste Poster (PDF)

                  Collaborative Planning and Equity

                  Our research on collaborative planning and equity attempts to understand how collaborative planning and policy decisions are made, and to pinpoint where an equity lens might transform normative procedures into a practice of anti-oppression, agonism, and advocacy. Collaborative planning is a dominant theory in planning in which multiple stakeholders come together to deliberate on common concerns and apply consensus building and public participation methods to make policy decisions. The approach seeks to balance power among participants and increase public engagement.

                  Researchers Sarah Mercurio (PSU)
                  Status Completed
                  Funding Internal (HRAC Summer Institute)
                  Downloads Collaborative Planning and Equity (PDF)

                    Youth Homelessness

                    Youth experiencing homelessness face numerous challenges to maintaining their health while homeless and as they exit homelessness. This includes their physical health, mental health, and well-being. Further, research on the efficacy of various interventions that aim to positively impact the health of homeless youth is limited. The following paper summarizes what is currently understood about the health and well-being of youth experiencing homelessness and concludes with recommendations for interventions, prevention programs, and future research.

                    Researchers Katricia Stewart (PSU)
                    Status Completed
                    Funding Internal (HRAC Summer Institute)
                    Downloads Summary of Youth Homelessness (PDF)

                      Familial Homelessness & Trauma

                      This review provides an overview of the relationship between familial homelessness and the following sources of trauma: domestic violence, substance use, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), mental health, and poverty. Following this review, stressors often experienced by homeless families (stigma, parenting while homeless, and child-specific) will be discussed. 

                      Researchers Holly Brott (PSU)
                      Status Completed
                      Funding Internal (HRAC Summer Institute)
                      Downloads Familial Homelessness and Trauma (PDF)

                        Annotated Bibliography: Homelessness and Policing, Mental Health, Sex Offenders, Race, Youth, and Gender

                        This work explores international and national studies on homelessness as it intersects with policing, mental health, sex offenders, race, youth and gender. The main focus is the criminalization of homelessness and the impact of policing and the criminal justice system on homelessness. 

                        Researchers CJ Appleton (PSU, George Mason)
                        Status Completed
                        Funding Internal (HRAC Summer Institute)
                        Downloads Available on request