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GSSWGraduate School of Social Work

Brisson appointed to lead Burnes Center on Poverty and Homelessness at GSSW

Daniel Brrisson

May 5, 2017

Associate Professor Daniel Brisson, PhD, has been appointed executive director of the Burnes Center on Poverty and Homelessness at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW), effective July 1, 2017.

Founded in 2016 by GSSW Scholar-in-Residence Don Burnes, the Burnes Center serves as an evidence-based think tank for the state, region and nation. Its mission is to inform policymakers and practitioners about issues related to homelessness, to impact policies and practices, and to transform the lives of people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. 

Brisson's scholarship is focused on poverty, low-income neighborhoods and affordable housing. His community partnerships have included Mercy Housing, Denver Human Services, Denver Housing Authority, and the Boulder County Housing and Human Services, and his research has been supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Piton Foundation, and U.S. Bureau of Justice, among others. 

The center's scope will expand to include neighborhood development and housing for families with inclusion of Brisson's Your Family, Your Neighborhood intervention for children and their parents living in low-income Denver neighborhoods. The program fosters academic success and family health and well-being through a unique dual-generation model.

"I am really excited to join the Burnes Center on Poverty and Homelessness in this leadership role," says Brisson, a GSSW faculty member since 2005. "I have been working with Don for several years, and it is exciting to formally join our research projects.

"I believe the Burnes Center can have a strong impact on families struggling with the associated issues of homelessness, housing and poverty," Brisson adds. "Our primary means of impacting individuals and families is through the development of research to inform practice and policy. Right now, our center has strong connections locally, and we are engaged in some important projects that are impacting the services families receive. We plan to grow our local impact while also being engaged in the national dialogue on these issues."

Brisson is a leader of GSSW's community practice and program evaluation curricula, leads the school's Intervention Research Group and represents the school on several University of Denver committees related to research—roles that will help to position the Burnes Center with curricular opportunities for students and opportunities for research partnerships across GSSW and DU, notes Morris Endowed Dean and Professor Amanda Moore McBride.

"Housing and homelessness are paramount social issues, with a call to end homelessness being one of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare's 'Grand Challenges,'" McBride says. "Having such an accomplished scholar lead the Burnes Center into its next phase will position GSSW and DU for demonstrable impact on this challenge."

Burnes will continue to serve as a scholar-in-residence and chair of the Burnes Center community advisory board.