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Amanda Aykanian

Assistant Professor of Social Work 
University at Buffalo School of Social Work


Homelessness, including how social policies and programs affect unhoused people; homeless service systems and workforce issues; social welfare history and policy; social service program implementation

Portrait of Amanda Aykanian.

Amanda Aykanian is an expert on homelessness, including the root causes of the homelessness crisis in the United States. She can comment on current workforce issues in the homeless services sector, the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s homelessness and housing programs, the criminalization of homelessness, and how programs and policies around affordable housing, income security and other issues can affect unhoused people.

For the last decade, Aykanian has been a leader in efforts to strengthen social work’s response to homelessness. She serves as national co-lead for the Grand Challenge to End Homelessness and is the former research and project lead for the National Center for Excellence in Homeless Services.

Aykanian’s research centers on homeless service system and workforce issues. She is the principal investigator for the National Homeless Services Workforce Study — the first effort in decades to survey the homeless services workforce in the United States. In addition, 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.

Prior to entering academia, Aykanian worked for over a decade in program evaluation, assessing how social service programs affected the people they were designed to serve. She primarily looked at federally funded services for people experiencing homelessness or at high risk for experiencing homelessness in Massachusetts and New York. This experience shaped her interests in service, system and policy implementation, and the relationship between implementation factors and system outcomes.


Amanda Aykanian, PhD 
Assistant Professor of Social Work
University at Buffalo School of Social Work