HomeOur Focus AreasHard-to-Reach Populations & Homelessness

Hard-to-Reach Populations & Homelessness


We work with a range of communities and populations that, for any number of reasons, remain difficult to study with conventional social science methods.

In some cases, this is because they lack fixed addresses or locations, such as when we work with homeless and unstably housed women or adolescents. In other cases, it is because the population is stigmatized and members remain wary of outsides, such as injecting drug users or underage sex workers. The REACH team has adopted and developed a number of methods to work with these groups, making our team one of the few social science research labs with expertise in this area.

Recent Blog Posts for Injection Risk Networks in Rural Puerto Rico

In collaboration with El Punto en la Montaña, our syringe exchange partners in rural Puerto Rico, our team participated in

Duncan I., Curtis R., Reyes J.C., Abadie R., Khan B., Dombrowski, K. 2017. Hepatitis C serosorting among people who inject

Abadie, R., Welch-Lazoritz, M., Dombrowski, K., Khan, B. 2017. “Social Determinants of HIV/HCV Co-Infection: A case Study from PWID in

2016 Kirk Dombrowski, Bilal Khan, Patrick Habecker, Holly Hagan, Samuel R. Friedman, Mohammed Saad “The Interaction of Human Social Systems

2017 Melissa Welch-Lazoritz, Patrick Habecker, Kirk Dombrowski, Angelica Rivera Villegas, Carmen Ana Davila, Yadira Rolón Colón, Sandra Miranda De León,

A new article was published in the Philadelphia Inquirer that focuses on one of Puerto Rico's solutions to the heroin

Funded Projects:

Funded projects focused specifically on hidden and hard to reach populations include “Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in New York City” (Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs NIJ 2009-MC-CX-0001), performed in collaboration with the John Jay Social Networks Research Group and the New York Center for Court innovation. We also worked with John Jay researchers Ric Curtis and Travis Wendel on the “Retail Methamphetamine Markets in New York City” (NIJ 2007-IJ-CX-0110 / NIH R21 DA024357-01).  Other collaborators include Susan Bartles of Harvard University Medical School on the “Investigation on Outcomes of Sexual Violence Related Pregnancies in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo” (Eleanor Miles Shore Foundation and Harvard Humanitarian Initiative). More recently, Dr. Whitbeck was contracted to complete a data collection project on homeless youth across the United States (funded by the Family and Youth Services Bureau). Our currently funded projects in this focus area include “Injection Risk Networks in Rural Puerto Rico (NIH/NIDAR01DA037117).