M. Lori Thomas, PhD

M. Lori Thomas, PhD

Director of Research and Faculty Engagement/Associate Professor
Urban Institute/School of Social Work

Research Interest:

Dr. M. Lori Thomas is an Associate Professor of Social Work. She currently directs research at the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute where she also serves as the Executive Director of the Institute for Social Capital, an integrated community data system. In her role at the Urban Institute, she leads the work of community-engaged researchers and graduate students and facilitates use of linked administrative data by faculty researchers and community organizations.

Dr. Thomas’ research examines programmatic and systemic responses to homelessness and housing instability across the life course, particularly among older adults and people with health and mental health disorders. Her research is informed by over 15 years of practice experience in affordable housing, community development, and homelessness, including developing and implementing the first housing first permanent supportive housing program in Virginia. She is currently the Principal Investigator of the Housing First Charlotte-Mecklenburg Research & Evaluation Project and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Coordinated Entry Evaluation.

Teaching Specialty

  • Social Policy I


PhD, Virginia Commonwealth University, 2008, Social Work MSW, Virginia Commonwealth University, 2006 MDiv, Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, 1997 BA, Carson-Newman College, 1993, Religion

Practice Area:

  • Housing First
  • Chronic Homelessness
  • Programmatic and Systemic Responses to Homelessness
  • Social Work Mezzo & Macro Practice

Curriculum Vitae

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