Stemming the Rise of Latino Homelessness

Presentation by Melissa Chinchilla

September 19, 2019
HPRI Research Seminar

Melissa Chinchilla, Research Scientist at AltaMed Institute for Health Equity, presented the findings from her 2019 report Stemming the Rise of Latino Homelessness: Lessons from Los Angeles County and facilitated a discussion around challenges and opportunities for addressing Latinos’ distinct housing and service needs. More broadly, her presentation helped facilitate a discussion around the value of bringing a race equity lens to homelessness research.


Melissa Chinchilla is a Research Scientist at AltaMed Institute for Health Equity. Previously, she was a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Health Services Research and Development at the Veteran Administration of Greater Los Angeles.

Dr. Chinchilla’s research rests at the intersection of housing, health, and community development. Her dissertation examined the community integration outcomes of formerly homeless individuals assisted through the VA’s largest homeless program, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-VA Supportive Housing (VASH). Dr. Chinchilla’s research on HUD-VASH points to the importance of voucher type and neighborhood factors in assuring that formerly homeless individuals in supportive housing are able to achieve housing stability and improvements in quality of life. Dr. Chinchilla’s current research examines Latino homelessness in Los Angeles County, including what is driving the increase in Latino homelessness, gaps in housing and service provision, and best practices for serving this population. Dr. Chinchilla has also published on the use of Health Impact Assessment as an interdisciplinary teaching tool, and continues to examine ways to bridge the divide between public health and urban planning disciplines.

Dr. Chinchilla’s work has been published by MIT Press and the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. She has received research funding from the Pricilla King Gray Public Service Center, Sagalyn and Hack Dissertation Grant, and the Veteran Administration Research Enhancement Award Program.

Dr. Chinchilla earned her doctorate in Urban Studies and Planning from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She also holds a master in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master of Science in Health Policy Management from UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health. She earned bachelor degrees in Social Welfare and Mass Communications from the University of California, Berkeley.



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