A Shared Approach to Combating Homelessness

One in 30 Young People Experience Homelessness Before College Age

Our Partnership

To combat youth homelessness, we worked with the University of Southern California and other community and academic partners for a national collaboration called REALYST: Research, Education and Advocacy Co-Lab for Youth Stability and Thriving. We believe the research and ingenuity achieved by collaborating with partners like the University of Southern California is needed to influence policy and develop near- and long-term solutions.

About Our Research

We leverage cross-institutional collaboration to address some of today’s most pressing challenges, producing interdisciplinary solutions that influence policymakers to effectively serve the public good. From Stanford to UChicago to NYU, we’ve refined our collaborative process through years of mutually beneficial relationships with institutions nationwide to understand and address challenges like climate change, HIV and youth homelessness.

DU’s current research efforts have been featured in news outlets like The New York Times. They include…

  • exploring the effects of felony disenfranchisement.
  • employing lasers as the medium for quantum science.
  • using theatre to heal and rehabilitate inmates.

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About the Project

REALYST is a national, multi-site collaboration between academic and community partners, with the goal of using research to understand youth homelessness. We believe that understanding will inform policies and lead to effective solutions aimed at ending homelessness and housing instability among young people.

We collected in-depth detail on the experiences of young people experiencing homelessness across multiple cities and communities, looking at factors like gender, sexual orientation, race, education and time spent in foster care. That information was used to deepen our understanding of the problem and determine how solutions can be developed and applied on a community basis.

The project was a collaboration between the University of Denver, the University of Southern California, Arizona State University, the University of Houston, the University of Missouri - St. Louis and Hunter College, as well as a variety of community partners.

Discover Research at DU

Kimberly Bender

Kimberly Bender is a professor of social work at the University of Denver's Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW), where she serves as Associate Dean of Doctoral Education. Bender primarily partners with young people experiencing homelessness in her work, a population for whom she endeavors to empower and prevent adverse outcomes.