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Steve Metraux - University of Delaware. Newark, DE, US

Steve Metraux

Associate Professor, Biden School of Public Policy and Administration; Director Center for Community Research & Service | University of Delaware


Prof. Metraux has over two decades of experience with research and policy work on homelessness, affordable housing and eviction.





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Stephen Metraux is Associate Professor at the Biden School of Public Policy and Administration of the University of Delaware, where he directs the Center for Community Research and Service.

Steve’s research on homelessness has included pioneering work on using administrative and survey data to better understand the impacts and costs of homelessness across a range of services systems. More generally, his research has examined how various institutional contexts intersect with homelessness, including the military, jails and prisons, and child welfare. He has worked extensively with public agencies and non-profits on using available data to better understand and evaluate their homeless, housing and related services and the people who use them.

Steve’s current research focuses on unsheltered homelessness and local responses to homelessness encampments, with projects funded by the Arnold Foundation and the City of Philadelphia. He is also continuing work on veteran homelessness that he started during his tenure as an Analyst with the VA’s National Center for Homelessness Among Veterans.

Industry Expertise (1)

Social Services

Areas of Expertise (6)


Housing Affordabiilty

Veteran Homelessness

Affordable Housing


Impact of COVID-19 on Homelessness

Media Appearances (17)

WA’s ‘one of a kind’ youth homelessness response shows big results

Seattle Times  online


One of the biggest predictors of becoming homeless is having experienced it previously, said Stephen Metraux, Associate Professor in the Joseph R. Biden School of Public Policy. “So if kids have experienced homelessness, that would put them at additional risk,” he said.

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Why King County homeless count continues, even with accuracy in doubt

Seattle Times  online


Stephen Metraux, Associate Professor in the Joseph R. Biden School of Public Policy, said that decreases captured in the Point-in-Time count are useful to correlate with programs and interventions that are working. He highlighted how a national drop in veteran homelessness has created a blueprint on how homelessness can be addressed through housing subsidies and wraparound services.

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Opinion | Solutions for Kensington don’t begin or end with calling the National Guard

The Philadelphia Inquirer  online


For change in Kensington, the scale of the solutions must be commensurate to the scale of the problem, and we must supplant ineffective approaches with a willingness to try new things.

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Does Wilmington rely too much on parking enforcement revenue? These researchers say yes

Delaware Online | The News Journal  online


Stephen Metraux, associate professor and director of the Center for Community Research and Service at the University of Delaware, presented the 30-page Fines & Fees Collection and Enforcement report on Dec. 4, underscoring the reliance Wilmington officials place on the revenue stream while pointing out how inefficient parking enforcement and collection is.

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Study sees major flaws in Wilmington parking system; city officials question findings

Delaware Business Now  online


A University of Delaware professor’s study shows that Wilmington’s parking fines and fees are a larger source of revenue than in many American cities but represent an inefficient way to finance city operations. The city has taken issue with the study that included a survey of residents.

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Hearing on housing, homeless leads to promise of attention

Delaware Live  online


The last time the state convened a task force or group to look at the statewide problem was before 2017, and maybe as far back as 2007, said Dr. Stephen Metraux, director of the University of Delaware’s Center for Community Research & Service. It’s time for the state and the stakeholders to reconvene, look at research and all try to get on the same page instead of going in different directions.

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Hearing on housing, homeless leads to promise of attention

Town Square Live  online


The last time the state convened a task force or group to look at the statewide problem was before 2017, and maybe as far back as 2007, said Dr. Stephen Metraux, director of the University of Delaware’s Center for Community Research & Service. It’s time for the state and the stakeholders to reconvene, look at research and all try to get on the same page instead of going in different directions.

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Delaware's Housing Crisis Discussed in Joint Legislative Hearing

WBOC Delmarva  online


At the joint hearing on Wednesday, both the Senate Housing & Land Use Committee and the House Housing Committee delved into presentations covering new reports. These reports included data from the recent Health Needs Assessment survey by the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, Dr. Stephen Metraux's 2023 report on homelessness in Delaware, findings from the 2023 Point In Time Count by Housing Alliance Delaware, and the Delaware State Housing Authority's (DSHA) review of the 2023 Housing Needs Assessment.

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Advocates push for more transparency and equity in Wilmington’s fines and fees

Delaware Public Media  online


A new report from the University of Delaware’s Center for Community Research and Service at the Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy & Administration examines fines and fees collected by Wilmington from parking and red light tickets, and their impact on residents.

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As Portland faces decision on encampments, other U.S. cities also struggle to address homelessness

Portland Press Herald  online


“At the root of the situation is a housing problem,” said Stephen Metraux, an associate professor of public policy at the University of Delaware who researches homelessness. “There isn’t enough housing, and the housing that is available is getting really expensive.”

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Accused of begging inside Market Street restaurants, she was jailed for a year

Delaware Online | The News Journal  online


Stephen Metraux, the director of the University of Delaware’s Center for Community Research and Service, reviewed transcripts detailing the woman’s court case and said it illustrates that Delaware − and society more generally − does not allocate resources to adequately respond to the needs of some people and so they become a “problem of the legal system.”

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Where are King County's Homeless Residents from?

Seattle Times  online


To help compare regional data to national migration trends, Stephen Metraux, now with the University of Delaware, studied the migration of more than 100,000 veterans who became homeless in 2011 or 2012. By following people who entered the VA’s homelessness services system, Metraux was able to find that the large majority of veterans stayed within the veteran service area where they became homeless.

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Habitat for Humanity branches and UD release study on Delaware's housing repair needs

Delaware Public Media  online


Research lead and UD Biden School of Public Policy and Administration associate professor Steve Metraux says essential repairs for those homes could cost nearly $100 million – an exponentially larger figure than the amount of funding currently available in Delaware to support housing repair.

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Chinatown International District pushes back at expanded homeless shelter. Officials ask where else?

The Seattle Times  online


“It risks becoming a dumping ground for homeless people,” said Stephen Metraux, a homelessness researcher at the University of Delaware, who says an overconcentration of homelessness in one area can come to define a place.

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Are Boulder’s homeless ‘from here?’ And other FAQ

Boulder Beat  online


Dr. Stephen Metraux conducted one of the largest migration studies, analyzing the movements of more than 100,000 unhoused veterans. He found very little movement from one region to another; only 15.3% “migrated across large geographic areas” (from one Veterans Administration service area to another).

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Number of people experiencing homelessness in Delaware doubled over past two years

Delaware Public Media  online


The largest group, and the fastest growing, are people living in hotels and motels, paid for with vouchers provided by Delaware’s Division of State Service Centers. Steve Metraux, the Director of the Center for Community Research and Service at the University of Delaware, says the State Service Centers have become a centerpiece of the state’s response to homelessness.

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Exacerbated by COVID-19, Delaware sees 35% increase in homelessness

Delaware Online | The News Journal  online


“Even though they didn't count the unsheltered, which should have brought the count down, the count went up by thirty five percent,” said Stephen Metraux, director of the University of Delaware’s Center for Community Research and Service.

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Articles (5)

Veteran Homelessness

The Routledge Handbook of Homelessness

2023 Over the past decade, veteran homelessness in the US has witnessed a steady decline. Annual point in time counts by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimate that 74,087 veterans were homeless on a given night in 2010, compared to a count of 37,252 for 2020 (Henry et al., 2021). This decline has far outpaced that of the overall US homeless population and comes after the goal of ending veteran homelessness was declared a federal policy priority. In contrast, there is a lack of research on veteran homelessness across the rest of the globe (Wilding, 2020), and no other nation can even provide a systematic estimate of the number of veterans who are homeless. While there has been a concern expressed in some nations about the extent to which veterans are vulnerable to homelessness, no other nation has identified veterans as a priority for services among the homeless population, let alone resolve to end homelessness among this group. In short, the US is conspicuous globally in the extent to which it has cast veterans as a distinct homeless subpopulation and responded to their housing and service needs.

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Health service access among homeless veterans: Health access challenges faced by homeless African American veterans

Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities

2022 Veteran homelessness is a public health crisis, especially among the disproportionate number of minority veterans in the homeless veteran population. African American homeless veterans in particular face unique challenges accessing appropriate health care services to meet their medical needs. Their needs are often underrepresented in the literature on veteran homelessness. Drawing together over 80 studies and government reports from the last two decades, this review provides a timely synopsis of homeless veterans’ health care access, with a particular focus on the barriers faced by African American veterans. This review employs Penchansky and Thomas’ Access Model to frame health access barriers faced by homeless veterans, dialing in on what is known about the experience of African American veterans, within the five dimensions of access: Availability, Accessibility, Accommodation, Affordability, and Acceptability. Actionable guidance and targeted interventions to address health access barriers for all veterans are delineated with a focus on the need to gather further data for African American homeless veterans and to consider tailoring interventions for this important and underserved group.

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Prior Evictions Among People Experiencing Homelessness in Delaware

Delaware Journal of Public Health

2022 Eviction is frequently a precursor to homelessness. This is an exploratory study that looks at a group of homeless adults who stayed in Delaware homeless shelters in 2019 and the extent by which their homelessness is preceded by an eviction filing. Specifically, we match records of homeless shelter use with records from a court-based database of eviction filings, both in Delaware, to determine the frequency and correlates of prior eviction among adults staying in Delaware shelter and/or transitional housing facilities in 2019. Results show that 21 percent of the people in the study group had records of eviction filings in the 2-year period prior to initial homeless services use. Recent history of eviction filings was much more prevalent among study group members who were homeless with their children (ie, with families), who were Black, and/or who were female. These findings are consistent with prior research and demonstrate the potential of interventions designed to mitigate eviction to also reduce homelessness, especially among families with children.

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Association Between Registered Sex Offender Status and Risk of Housing Instability and Homelessness among Veterans

Journal of Interpersonal Violence

2022 Research is limited about whether and to what extent registered sex offenders (RSOs) face an increased risk of housing instability. The intersection of RSO and housing instability is particularly salient for veterans as there are disproportionately higher rates of veterans among both RSOs and homeless populations. This study assessed the relationship between RSO status and risk of housing instability and homelessness among military veterans. We matched a list of 373,774 RSOs obtained from publicly available sex offender registries in 19 states with a cohort of 5.9 million veterans who responded to a brief screening for housing instability administered throughout the Veterans Health Administration between 2012 and 2016. Logistic regression estimated adjusted odds of any housing instability and homelessness among veterans identified as RSOs. Veterans identified as RSOs had 1.81 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.46–2.25) and 2.97 (95% CI 1.67–5.17) times greater odds of reporting any housing instability and homelessness, respectively, than non-RSOs. Findings represent some of the strongest evidence to date for the high risk of housing instability and homelessness among RSOs, suggesting a clear gap in policy and programmatic responses to their unique housing needs. Evidence-based alternative approaches to residence restriction laws may reduce recidivism and protect public safety.

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Characteristics associated with homeless pregnant women in Columbus, Ohio

Maternal and Child Health Journal

2021 The effects of homelessness on pregnant women are substantial. We aim to identify key characteristics of a group of women identified as homeless and pregnant in order to understand their history of housing, family composition, health, and demographics as a first step for future intervention.

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Education (3)

University of Pennsylvania: PhD, Sociology 2002

University of Texas at Arlington: MA, Urban Studies 1994

Grinnell College: BA, Philosophy 1986

Affiliations (3)

  • Delaware Homeless Continuum of Care : Board Member
  • Public Allies Delaware : Advisory Board Member
  • Delaware Kids Count : Advisory Board Member

Languages (2)

  • English
  • German

Event Appearances (5)

Housing Assistance During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Anticipating the Need in Delaware.

(2020) Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy & Administration Webinar Series  Online

Housing and Justice: Avoiding Homelessness after Incarceration

(2020) Center for Evidence Based Solutions to Homelessness (Abt Associates, Inc.) Webinar  Online

Employing Your Sociological Imagination: Careers Outside of Academia

(2020) Eastern Sociological Society Annual Meeting.  Philadelphia, PA

The Emerging Crisis of Aged Homelessness in New York Metraux CV - 15 City: Could Housing Solutions Be Funded by Avoidance of Excess Shelter, Hospital, and Nursing Home Costs?

(2019) Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management Fall Research Conference  Denver, CO

Permanent Supportive Housing – Practical Implications of Research on Cost Offsets

(2019) National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials Annual Meeting  Dover, DE