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Research justice and democracy are primary guiding principles of the Homelessness Hub at UC San Diego. We believe that people with lived experience of homelessness have unique insights on the societal challenge of homelessness born of personal experience and as such, should be included in research (as well as policy, services, and decision-making) aimed at understanding causes and solutions to this communal crisis. We believe they should also be fairly compensated for their contributions.

In December 2023, we hired seven outstanding Homelessness-Experienced Action Researchers-in-Training (HEARTs or RITs) to contribute to the Homelessness Services Ecosystem Evaluation (H-SEE) we are currently launching. "Action research" is a collaborative, qualitative method that focuses on solving problems by generating knowledge, collectively reflecting on it, and taking action.

H-SEE RITs will be involved in all aspects of the investigation, from research design to data collection and analysis. We believe that the inclusion of people with direct experience of being unhoused in this system will enrich the quality of the research while offering those hired new skills, knowledge, and opportunities. RITs are compensated for their time, both during training and subsequently as members of the research team, attending meetings, collecting data out in the field, working on analysis, and communicating findings.  They will be trained in qualitative research methods, including the creation of effective research questions, research design, and surveying and interviewing. They will also discuss root causes of homelessness, and the funding and structure of our services ecosystem in San Diego. RITs will additionally attend Community Advisory Board (CAB) meetings as ex-officio members throughout the year.
  • Cassandra Haynes

    Cassandra Haynes

  • Kuni Stearns

    Kuni Stearns

  • Chelees Turner

    Chelees Turner

  • Cindy Moser

    Cindy Moser

  • Dennis Larkin

    Dennis Larkin

  • Frank Kensaku Saragosa

    Frank Kensaku Saragosa