Pruss Receives NSF Grant

Written by Laura Paskin
April 22, 2014

Graham Pruss, project coordinator and research fellow at the Center for Strategic Communications, received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to further his research on the growing phenomenon of people living in their cars. Selected from more than 14,000 applicants, Pruss will continue to work in the center on the Project on Family Homelessness as he completes his doctoral degree in applied anthropology at the University of Washington. This federal grant will provide funding for educational and living expenses throughout his academic career.  

Graham established the Seattle Vehicle Residency Research Program at the center in 2012 to collect and share information about individuals and families who sleep in their cars, how they are affected by law, and how they can be assisted to secure permanent housing. Pruss works with students, volunteers, advocates, and service providers, as well as local law enforcement and government officials, to address local policies to assist vehicle residents.    

“We’re proud that Pruss’s research helped develop and expand the City of Seattle’s first program designed for vehicle residents, the Safe Parking/Road 2 HousingProgram,” said Barry Mitzman, director of the Center for Strategic Communications. “Because of this work, city funding increased from $20,000 in 2012 to over $270,000 in 2014.   

The Safe/Parking Road 2 Housing program provides a path to permanent housing for families and individuals who sleep in their vehicles. In addition, spaces for vehicles have been set aside throughout North Seattle while their occupants work with case managers to secure a place to live.

The College of Arts and Sciences, the largest college in Seattle University, offers 41 undergraduate major degrees, 36 minors, and 6 master's degrees, The Center for Strategic Communications, a component of the Communication Department, functions as a laboratory for strategic communications and other majors to practice their craft in service to nonprofit community organizations.