First Advisor

Wim Wiewel

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Social Science and University Honors


Social Science


Portland State University -- Public relations, Homelessness -- Oregon -- Portland, Homeless persons -- Services for -- Oregon -- Portland, Community and college -- Oregon -- Portland




This paper explores the role of Portland State University as a community partner in addressing the issue of homelessness. The research includes a literature review, findings from a 10-month participant observation study, and interviews with community and academic leaders. The findings from the study focus on community needs, which include having a citizenry educated on issues of poverty and homelessness; having vocal support for public policies that serve people who are homeless; insight from research; and having labor to get work done. The research findings also focus on university needs, which include classroom curriculum centered on poverty and homelessness; service opportunities for students; research partnerships for faculty and students; fieldwork locations; and affordable housing for students and their families. Recommendations are given for how Portland State University can better partner with the community to address homelessness. These recommendations first suggest studying the impact of university-community partnerships from the perspective of individuals living in homelessness. Recommendations also include establishing committed senior capstones focused on different aspects of homelessness in Portland; increasing course offerings on poverty and homelessness; developing a stronger connection between the Office of Research and Strategic Partnerships and community organizations; and forming student organizations that focus on homelessness. Finally, recommendations suggest looking to PSU’s School of Social Work for guidance on how to build successful partnerships that serve individuals living in homelessness.


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