UB Students, Faculty Spend a Year Working on Issues of Homelessness
October 8, 2014
Contact: University Relations
Starting this fall and continuing through the spring 2015 semester, University of Baltimore students and faculty will focus on the root causes of homelessness in Baltimore, combining coursework, applied research and hands-on service to better understand this long-standing problem that impacts thousands of people—from those on the street to the policymakers, health care providers, social workers and activists who work on these issues each day.
The Homeless Project, a new collaborative initiative between Renita L. Seabrook, assistant professor in the School of Criminal Justice, and Tiffaney S. Parkman, lecturer in the School of Health and Human Services (both schools in UB's College of Public Affairs), is an experiential learning opportunity in which University of Baltimore undergraduates will examine both the root causes of homelessness and the ways that the issue manifests itself across the city. The year-long course will allow students to demonstrate their ability to take on the real problems of a disenfranchised population—estimated by Healthcare for the Homeless to be as many as 30,000 over the course of a year—up to and including a lack of health care, proper support for those who seek both short- and long-term shelter, and so on. The class will seek a comprehensive understanding of the problem, from the day a person becomes homeless to the time when he or she may be receiving assistance.
"Our goal is to increase our students' awareness of the issues of homelessness," Seabrook said. "There are people without shelter in cities and towns everywhere, and understanding that is the first step toward alleviating the problem."
An array of UB's high-impact activities, including learning communities, service learning, and student-faculty research, will make up the majority of the Homeless Project's efforts. In addition, students and faculty also will engage with governmental and non-profit organizations that are working on issues related to homelessness, in order to support the most effective and efficient public policies that apply.
"I believe that this class really exemplifies what the University of Baltimore is all about: Knowledge That Works," Parkman said. "We are taking students out of the classroom and examining real problems that real people are facing and thinking about how we can be a part of the solution—in this case, homelessness."
While in development the course received two UB grants: a Baltimore Renaissance Scholars Seed Fund award for $5,000, and a University of Baltimore Foundation Fund for Excellence grant for $14,271.
The University of Baltimore is a member of the University System of Maryland and comprises the College of Public Affairs, the Merrick School of Business, the UB School of Law and the Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences.