“With many years of experience evaluating programs and services for people experiencing homelessness, I am most passionate about using research to strengthen homeless service systems to better meet client needs and support a strong and committed workforce.”
Homeless service systems; homeless service workforce issues; homelessness continuums of care and coordinated entry; program evaluation; program and policy implementation; social work education
Amanda Aykanian joined the UB School of Social Work from the University of Texas at Arlington. Prior to entering academia, she worked for over a decade in program evaluation, primarily evaluating federally funded services and programs for people experiencing homelessness or at high risk for experiencing homelessness in Massachusetts and New York. This experience has shaped her interests in service, system and policy implementation and the relationship between implementation factors and system outcomes.
Aykanian’s research centers on homeless service system and workforce issues. She has led multiple studies examining the intersection of geographic mobility and homeless service use, with a focus on implications for service and policy implementation. Recognizing workers as a key component for a strong service system, she also studies the experiences of frontline workers in the homeless service sector. While in Texas, she completed a statewide study to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on frontline homeless service workers. Currently, she is the principal investigator for the National Homeless Services Workforce Study, which is being conducted in partnership with researchers from Temple University and Millersville University.
For the last decade, Aykanian has also been a leader in efforts to strengthen social work’s response to homelessness, especially curricular innovations. She is the former research and project lead for the National Center for Excellence in Homeless Services. She was on the national task force steering committee that developed the Council on Social Work Education’s Curricular Guide for Addressing Homelessness and is a co-editor of the social work textbook, Homelessness Prevention and Intervention in Social Work: Policies, Programs and Practices. Currently, she is the national co-lead of the Grand Challenge to End Homelessness.