February 24, 2021
Associate Dean for Research and Policy Engagement,
Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy,
University of Michigan
Addressing Poverty’s Impediments to Student Success During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Luke Shaefer, Ph.D. is the Hermann and Amalie Kohn Professor of Social Justice and Social Policy and Associate Dean for Research and Policy Engagement at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. He is also a professor of social work and the inaugural director of Poverty Solutions, an interdisciplinary, presidential initiative that partners with communities and policymakers to find new ways to prevent and alleviate poverty. Through his role at Poverty Solutions, Shaefer acts as a special counselor on anti-poverty policy to the director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.email@example.com
Luke Shaefer is Director of Poverty Solutions, a University of Michigan initiative that aims to prevent and alleviate poverty through action-based research into what actually works and makes a lasting difference in confronting poverty. Poverty Solutions, through its well-established partnership with the State of Michigan Department of Health and Human Services,
has helped inform the State’s response to the COVID-10 pandemic, by (1) making Michigan one of the first states to deliver added food assistance with federal funds to help 386,000 Michigan families put food on the table; (2) gaining federal approval to suspend work requirements, recertification activities, and in-person interview requirements for food and cash assistance programs, thereby eliminating barriers to quickly delivering these resources to Michigan families; and (3)
securing federal approval to deliver added food assistance benefits for 750,000 Michigan children who usually receive free and reduced lunch through the public schools. With particular reference to the resumption of in-person classes this fall, Poverty Solutions facilitated establishment of the Maize & Blue Cupboard, which makes food staples freely available on demand to students and their families so that their energy can be focused on academic pursuits rather than obtaining day-to-day necessities.
Shaefer’s research on poverty and social welfare policy in the United States has been published in top peer-reviewed academic journals in the fields of public policy, social work, public health, health services research, and history, and his work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and U.S. Census Bureau among other sources. He has presented his research at the White House and before numerous federal agencies, has testified before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee and has advised a number of the nation’s largest human service providers.
His work has been cited in media outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, The Economist, The Atlantic, and Los Angeles Times, and he has been featured on such programs as Marketplace and CNBC’s Nightly Business Report. His book with Kathryn Edin, “$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America,” was named one of the 100 Notable Books of 2015 by the New York Times Book Review, and won the Hillman Prize for Book Journalism among other awards. He was recently named to an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship.