U-M announces new initiatives and partnerships to help alleviate poverty

January 18, 2017

ANN ARBOR—The University of Michigan Institute for Social Research (ISR) is proud to announce that H. Luke Shaefer, faculty associate in the Survey Research Center and Population Studies Center and associate professor of social work and public policy, will serve as the inaugural director of Poverty Solutions, a new initiative launched by U-M to prevent and alleviate poverty.

Luke Shaefer

H. Luke Shaefer, will serve as the inaugural director of Poverty Solutions, a new initiative launched by U-M to prevent and alleviate poverty.

Nine projects are to receive funding, totaling $200,000, through new grants programs by Poverty Solutions. In addition to these investments, Poverty Solutions plans to start a new program in partnership with U-M’s new Youth Policy Lab, which is a collaboration between the ISR’s Survey Research Center and the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. This program focuses on investigating the economic and social impacts of expanding job opportunities, and is funded by the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL North America).

Poverty Solutions engages in interdisciplinary projects to tackle poverty from various angles. Partnering with communities, policymakers, and researchers from many of U-M’s 19 schools and colleges, it will begin work this month to test a variety of models to ease the effects of poverty, including:

  • Discovering innovative ways to deliver health care services to those most in need
  • Developing new strategies to protect affordable housing in Detroit
  • Understanding rural poverty and identifying funding policies and community-level strategies to address it
  • Creating a computer-based tool to increase long-term employability among underserved job-seekers
  • Measuring the burden of cuts to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits on poverty alleviation institutions
  • Examining the impact of the Earned-Income Tax Credit on housing stability among low-income households
  • Developing a Transportation Security Index to better understand how transportation insecurity impacts poverty and socioeconomic mobility

“These programs aim to make a real difference in the lives of struggling families by building knowledge about how to address poverty in a meaningful way,” said H. Luke Shaefer, U-M associate professor of social work and public policy and director of Poverty Solutions. “The focus is on putting knowledge into practice and to build on what works in confronting poverty.”

The collaborative program is co-sponsored by the Detroit Urban Research Center, a partnership among the U-M schools of Public Health, Nursing and Social Work; Detroit Health Department; Henry Ford Health System; and nine community-based organizations.


Kristen Kerecman, 734-604-2891, [email protected]

Scroll to Top