Post-secondary student homelessness research conducted by UNB Saint John professor

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Eric Weissman, a social sciences professor at the University of New Brunswick Saint John, is the principal investigator of the post-secondary student homelessness research.

Dr. Eric Weissman teaching his SOC 1001 (Wolfgang Düchtel/The Baron).

Development of research

For five years, Weissman and his research team consisting of professor Rebecca Schiff from Lakehead University, professor Jeannette Waegemakers Schiff from the University of Calgary, Kevin Friese from the University of Alberta, Lisa Mader, and Krista Robson have been developing a study to understand and solve post-secondary student homelessness. The research project was funded by Making the Shift Inc.’s Social Innovation Lab and is currently in the interview stage with a website.

Current research

According to Weissman, the current stage “starts with students telling us about their situations and what they need, and then bringing that conversation to schools and administrations to upstream solutions.”

The study aims to resolve a problem that threatens students’ health, mental health and academic achievement. This topic has been proven to remain hidden due to social stigma and lack of information.

“Our preliminary research has shown that 85,000 to 110,000 post-secondary students experience homelessness of some kind every day”, mentioned Weissman.

The researchers seek to understand the issue, to prevent it and address PSSH in ways that align with students’ experiences. The results will inform post-secondary administrations on how to help students.

Wolfgang Düchtel/The Baron

Next steps

After the study is completed, the research team will move on to start the next process of research. This includes doing more student, faculty, and staff interviews and focus groups, building a national research network, and expanding to a global scan.

They also invite participation on the web tool and will convene a working group of scholars, educators and students to discuss findings and observations to help quickly upstream solutions and tie-ins with other poverty reduction plans in Canada.

After this process and the team will publish the results and engage media to develop spatialization/mapping techniques for vulnerable students,

How to participate

To participate in the study or to know more information about the study, students can contact the team by emailing or calling 506-648-5561. 

Students who wish to participate in the study must send a short paragraph describing their current or past situation, indicating whether they want to be interviewed or kept informed about the study.

Students who are selected for an interview will receive a $25 gift card.