Alison Smith

Associate Professor Alison Smith

Focus: the governance of homelessness

Professor Smith’s research focus on the governance of homelessness first began when she was doing her MA at UBC and volunteered at a homeless shelter in East Vancouver. At the beginning of a critical point in Vancouver’s effort to fight homelessness, Professor Smith was intrigued by the municipal response in such a complex policy area. This interest fed into her research focus where Professor Smith looks at how ideas for ending or reducing homelessness structure policy responses, how actors are limited in what they can do, and how they work around those limitations to make significant contributions. Her forthcoming book, Multiple Barriers: The Multilevel Governance of Homelessness in Canada, published by the University of Toronto Press in 2021, will explore how these and other ideas have interacted with institutions in structuring responses to homelessness over the past 20 years.

The most current project on Professor Smith’s radar is a large literature review in an attempt to understand the gap in homelessness research in political science. Such a review poises Professor Smith to make an informed and comprehensive contribution to the broader body of knowledge and discipline. Other notable contributions include being an author on Montreal’s first homelessness count, conducted in 2015.

Beyond the academic sphere, Professor Smith enjoys getting crafty, ketchup chips, and watching and playing baseball with her two young sons.