Following the passing of House Bill 2163 in 2006, which sought to reduce homelessness in Washington by 50 percent over the next 10 years, Pierce County had its work cut out for it. With more than 100 estimated homeless camps in the county, shutting them down would require collaboration between social service organizations, law enforcement, and government agencies.

Working with the Pierce County Department of Community Services and the Road Home Leadership Team, Professors Rich Anderson-Connolly, Renee Houston, and Carolyn Weisz provided research assistance using a systems-based approach to better understand the local homeless population: how the public views homelessness, how the media frame it, and what the homeless have to share about their experiences. Through stakeholder interviews, community focus groups, surveys among the homeless population, and identifying key messages about homelessness in the local media, the research team seeks to identify key factors in the issue and develop recommendations for strategically addressing them.
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Stereotypes of the homeless: The target's perspective
Carolyn Weisz, Psychology
Renée Houston, Communications Studies

Stigma-related beliefs and experiences among homeless individuals
Carolyn Weisz, Psychology
Renée Houston, Communication Studies

The educational system for the homeless in Pierce County
Tom VanHeuvelen