National Center for Excellence in Homeless Services

About Us

Launched in 2013, the National Center for Excellence in Homeless Services, located at the UAlbany School of Social Welfare, partners with social work programs, providers, and policymakers to strengthen services that transform the lives of all homeless children and adults. We emphasize:          

  • Increasing homelessness content within social work curriculum.
  • Expanding field placements to provide more students with experience working in homeless services.
  • Educating policymakers on homelessness and related issues.
  • Supporting leaders in the homelessness field.

To strengthen partnerships among social work programs and homeless service agencies, we:

  • Offer leadership trainings and support in policy advocacy.
  • Promote the use of evidence-based and emerging practices.
  • Disseminate examples of excellence in homeless services.
  • Share strategies for innovative funding opportunities, such as those made possible by Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act.

With our partner schools, we recently launched a National Homelessness Social Work Initiative funded by the New York Community Trust. This major multi-year social work movement employs change strategies developed through child welfare and aging initiatives, furthering the goal of addressing risk across the lifespan and population groups, including racial and ethnic disparities.



Through a consortium of social work schools, we strengthen homeless services by creating partnerships, supporting leaders, and sharing excellence. Our approach is informed by the Restorative Integral Support (RIS) model, which synthesizes research on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), resilience, and recovery into a holistic, multi-system method that supports consumers and staff while strengthening systems within communities.

Specifically, the Center aims to:

  • Mobilize partnerships with other social work schools.
  • Develop and disseminate homelessness content for social work curriculum, including continuing education opportunities for providers and policymakers.
  • Provide leadership training and support for homeless service leaders, including use of the Restorative Integral Support (RIS) model.
  • Integrate research on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), trauma, resilience, and recovery, for translation into service and program development.
  • Foster collaboration among researchers with expertise on homelessness and related topics (e.g., addictions, trauma, mental health).
  • Identify and disseminate best practices for application and intervention in homeless services.
  • Promote a whole person/whole agency/whole community/whole system approach (RIS).
  • Attract funding for pilot studies, program evaluations, media campaigns, and community education.
  • Offer webinars, certificates, online programs, and conference presentations.

Read the press release from UAlbany announcing the Center and the press release announcing the National Homelessness Social Work Initiative.

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