Graham Pruss, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar, Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative

Dr. Graham J. Pruss uses mixed-methods to research unhoused and displaced communities, vehicle residency, social services and public policy development. Graham joined the Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative at the University of California San Francisco’s Center for Vulnerable Populations as a Postdoctoral Scholar in 2020, after receiving his PhD from the University of Washington Department of Anthropology. Dr. Pruss brings diverse perspectives to anthropological and ethno-archaeological research in these topics, as a former social service outreach specialist for vehicle residents (2013-2015) and previous recipient of social welfare programs as a homeless youth and teen parent in the early 1990s. He directed the Vehicular Residency Research Program (VRRP) at Seattle University from 2012 to 2013, where field researchers mapped anonymous vehicle residence settlement patterns correlated with parking restrictions and enforcement. Dr. Pruss developed a vehicle residence identification methodology during this research, that was later adopted for the annual official King County Point-in-Time counts of "unsheltered" people. Pruss presented on the state of vehicle residency to Seattle City Council in 2012, and in 2015 joined All Home - the (US HUD mandated) Seattle/King County Continuum of Care coordinating agency - where he served on the Executive Board, Governing Board and as co-Chair of the Policy Committee. Graham has worked as a Liaison for the Unhoused Community with the City of Seattle, served on the Mayor of Seattle's Innovation Advisory Council, and led the documentation of regional vehicle residency for the annual point-in-time count of unsheltered people from 2017 to 2020.
PhD, 08/2019 - Anthropology, University of Washington
Honors and Awards
  • Mayor of Seattle's 2016 Innovation & Equity Award, City of Seattle (WA), 2016
  • NT100 - Social Innovation Award, Nominet Trust, 2016
  • 2nd Place Startup Nonprofit, Social Venture Partnership Fast Pitch, 2016
  • COMCAST/NBCUNIVERSAL Technology Innovation Award, Social Venture Partnership Fast Pitch, 2016
  • Starbucks Civic Engagement Innovation Award, Social Venture Partnership Fast Pitch, 2016
  • Distinguished Alumni Graduation Address, Mid-Peninsula High School, Palo Alto (CA), 2013
  • Distinguished Alumni Speaker, University of Washington, Department of Anthropology, 2013
  • Curtis Wienker Award for Best Honors Thesis, University of Washington, Department of Anthropology, 2011