As a profession that emphasizes serving the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, our curriculum traditionally reflects a commitment to creating a social work workforce that can adequately meet the needs of at-risk individuals. Yet, while the social work code of ethics calls on us to prioritize disadvantaged groups, the social work profession can do much more to address homelessness. To increase and encourage the inclusion of homelessness curricular content, we have developed resources for social work educators interested in expanding their own knowledge and/or incorporating homelessness content into new or existing courses.

Homelessness Prevention and Intervention in Social Work: Policies, Programs, and Practices (Textbook) – Coming April 2019

Homelessness course offerings are inconsistent across schools of social work, and we lack a current textbook outlining service needs and effective social work practices with this population. Homelessness Prevention and Intervention in Social Work: Policies, Programs, and Practices will fill this gap by: (1) describing the service needs of people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, (2) examining community and policy responses to homelessness, and (3) reviewing effective policies, programs, and practices for homelessness prevention and intervention. Published by Springer Publishing, this textbook is expected to increase and support homelessness course offerings as well as curricular integration.

This text is available for pre-order here.

Homelessness in Social Work Education (CSWE Learning Academy Series)

In partnership with CSWE’s Learning Academy, we developed a series of on-demand webinars intended to raise awareness of homelessness-related issues and topics among social work educators and to support the integration of homelessness content across the social work curriculum. Educators can use the webinars for their own professional development and also incorporate the entire series or individual modules in courses for in-person, online, or blended instruction. The learning series is available here and is free and available to the public. Topics in the series include:

  • Housing First
  • Mental Health First Aid
  • Continuum of Care
  • Critical Time Intervention
  • Trauma and Adversity
  • Trauma-Informed Care

Reading Lists

The Selected Readings List consists of scholarly articles related to homelessness and is organized into subtopics (e.g. chronic homelessness, criminalization, and prevention).

The Selected Books List consists of books on homelessness-related topics across multiple disciplines in addition to social work, such as sociology and public health. The list is broken down into topic areas, including history/overview, housing, personal experiences/case studies, and special populations.

Homelessness Course Syllabi

Recognizing that educators interested in developing new homelessness courses would benefit from having access to example syllabi, we asked partner school faculty who currently teach courses on homelessness to share their syllabi. We hope these examples will provide a foundation for course development and inspiration for designing class sessions and assignments. Additionally, educators interested in integrating homelessness content into other courses can use the syllabi to identify relevant readings and resources. Each syllabus includes a note explaining the content of the syllabus and the instructor to whom questions can be directed.

Webinar: Integrating SOAR Training into Social Work Education

This webinar, held on March 8, 2018, discussed examples of how four of our partner schools are integrating SOAR into their MSW programs. The recording and slide presentation are available on the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center website. Speakers included:

  • Heather Larkin, MSW, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University at Albany
  • Pam Heine, MSW, Senior Project Associate, SAMHSA SOAR TA Center, Policy Research Associates, Inc.
  • Nancy Meyer-Adams, MSW, Ph.D., Director, School of Social Work, California State University- Long Beach
  • Linda Plitt Donaldson, MSW, PhD, Associate Professor, Catholic University of America
  • Kate Baasch, MA ATR-BC, LPC, Miriam’s Kitchen (Washington, D.C.)

inSocialWork Podcast Series

Episode 241 – Dr. Heather Larkin and Amanda Aykanian: Strategies to Advance Service Delivery and Address the Challenges of the Homeless Population: Social Work’s Call to Action (part 1 of 2): In the first of a two-part podcast, Heather Larkin (NCEHS Director) and Amanda Aykanian (NCEHS Research and Project Lead) discuss strategies designed to strengthen homeless services and empower the social work profession to assume a lead role in ending homelessness. They describe the National Center for Excellence in Homeless Services, the Center’s ties to the Social Work Grand Challenges, and the National Homelessness Social Work Initiative. The episode concludes by exploring misconceptions about homeless social work practice, what it actually means to work in homeless services, and how engaging in this area provides opportunities for interconnection across all levels of practice.

Episode 243 – Dr. Heather Larkin and Amanda Aykanian: Strategies to Advance Service Delivery and Address the Challenges of the Homeless Population: Social Work’s Call to Action (part 2 of 2): In the second of a two-part podcast, Dr. Heather Larkin and Amanda Aykanian emphasize how social work research has informed best practices in homeless services and provide examples of current models and programs designed to prevent homelessness. Research pertaining to service and policy implications associated with mobility and the relationship between ACE scores and homelessness is discussed. The episode concludes by describing how to become involved in the National Center for Excellence in Homeless Services and future work that is needed to to sustain and expand efforts to end homelessness.